Young and Struggling

God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able. 1st Corinthians 10:13

I was recently at a funeral for an older gentleman who had recently passed away. His son delivered the eulogy and made a statement about the time his dad spent in the rehab unit after having a growth removed from his spine. This had resulted in him becoming paralyzed and much rehabilitation and physiotherapy was needed. He did eventually regain some motor skills, but required canes for support to walk for the rest of his life.

What was poignant and really hit home for me though was that his dad had told the story of how while he was in his 50s at the time and had walked for many years, many of the other patients were in their early 20s and had their whole lives ahead of them. Many of these young people suffered from devastating spinal injuries that they received in accidents and most would not walk again.

I teared up as he told this story at the funeral because it mirrored my experience also. I was 55 years old when I ended up in hospital with Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) and was paralyzed. Although it didn’t seem possible, I was promised that I would walk again, and that promise came true. While I do walk with a cane for balance, I can walk and drive and for the most part can take care of myself. That is not the case for a number of people that I met while I was in the rehab unit.

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I remember three young men in particular that had a big impact on me as I went through my recovery. There was a young man who was involved in an accident in his car with a semi truck. He almost died in the accident but obviously he survived but with major spinal injuries. He did have use of his arms and upper body but had no feeling below the waist and would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

The second was a young man who had gone on vacation on a houseboat. Him and his friends were in the middle of the lake and going for a swim. He dove over the side of the boat into the lake. The lake should have been extremely deep at that point, but instead he dove into a sandbar and broke his neck. He had very limited use of his hands and no movement below his chest. His prognosis for further recovery was poor.

And finally was a young hockey player who turned 21 years old while we were in rehab together. He had fallen on the ice and slid into the boards and he also had broken his neck. He had very little movement below the neck and needed complete care for every aspect of his life. Without a miraculous recovery he probably would need 24 hour care for the rest of his life.

While my illness was definitely life-changing for me, at least I have reached a point in my recovery that I am comfortable with. As I said, I can walk, drive and take care of myself, something that I am thankful to God for every day. Previous to my illness I took life for granted, but that has all changed. Seeing those young men, and many more who will not walk again or have a lot of freedoms makes you appreciate the little things in life. I hope those young men have a strong faith in God to help them through their struggles because it certainly helped me.

He will never test us beyond what we are able, although In the Bible is the story of Job. Job had everything taken from him but never forgot the God he served, and at his lowest point he still got down on his knees and worshipped God (Job 1:20). If you read the story of Job and see what he went through and still kept his faith, then you should be able to have the strength to get through anything.

God bless.

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