The Legs of a Man

  • Dec. 23, 2015
  • #8778

Fixing our eyes upon Jesus gives us an eternal perspective on our own suffering and gives us strength to encourage others.

The Legs of a Man

I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with an encouraging word from Psalm 147.

Last month during my travels, I met a man in his early 20’s who had just become paralyzed from a motorcycle accident. Even though Calvin* had lost the use of his legs, this guy looked so content, so at peace with his wheelchair. Whenever I'm around another person with a disability with that much peace and contentment, I kinda like to probe and ask questions. And so, during our conversation, Calvin said, “Joni, right from the beginning, it was clear God wanted me to testify about Him. Like, I remember having a brief conversation with my surgeon right before my operation. He was dressed in his operating garb, and I was lying paralyzed on the gurney, ready to be wheeled into the operating room. My surgeon put his hand on my shoulder to tell me that he felt very badly that he would not be able to give me back use of my legs.

“But, Joni, I smiled and told him it was okay. He gave me an odd look, and so I gave him one of my favorite verses. Psalm 147, verse 10 says, ‘[God’s] pleasure is not in the legs of a man.’ Joni, I wish I could describe his surprise and his smile. He couldn’t believe I actually said that. But I did. If God doesn’t take pleasure in the legs of a man, then I don’t need to, either.”

Wow! Bless Calvin’s heart, because that was an incredibly composed response to his situation. I mean, at his own point of disappointment and need, Calvin thought first about comforting his surgeon. At just the time when he needed words of encouragement, he was able to think of the doctor who was about to operate on him. And how did the operation go? Well, Calvin’s spine was stabilized with a metal plate and screws, but it did not give him back any use of his legs. His spinal cord was severed. And the neat part is, when Calvin came out of recovery, he was content with it all. Even that early on, he was ready to get on with his new life of living as a paraplegic in a wheelchair. God bless that young man!

What an amazing example to us. Think of the many times you are hurt or you have been wounded. Think of the times you want to understandably focus on your own losses. It’s the human, the natural thing to do. Everybody grieves a loss, right? But some people’s grief is tempered by their eternal perspective. And what is the best perspective? Well, it is powerfully conveyed in 2 Corinthians chapter 4, verses 16 to 18 where the apostle Paul says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Oh friend, that’s the perspective we need when we suffer loss or pain or a loved one, or even the use of our legs. Don’t fix your eyes on what is seen, but what is unseen. That’s what Calvin did. He knew his legs were temporary, and his eternal perspective shortened and softened his sense of loss.

Oh, can you rise to that fresh, new level today? Can you fix your eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen? True, you may be disappointed with great needs, but please today find a way to fix your eyes on heaven and on the needs of others, just like my friend, Calvin.

*Original name was changed to protect privacy.

© Joni and Friends


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