By: Tim Sader
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
Having a group of likeminded guys to hang out with made me feel like I was a part of something. As we grew closer to the Lord our Brotherhood had a greater purpose and we had a better bond. When I was in youth group and forming the BH my friends were getting their permits and driver’s license. Joseph was first, we were the oldest and he was only a few months younger than me so he drove before any of us. It was hard seeing him drive around the time of my back surgery but had it stopped there I probably wouldn’t have been bothered by it. I lived next door to him so I had easy access to our main hang out and everyone else had to ride their bike, walk about a mile or get a ride from someone. When Joseph got his license everyone had a ride if they needed one and that was nice for our group. Soon instead of bringing ingredients for the stuff we ate they would wait and make a trip to the store. After a while if it got boring some of us would take rides to different places throughout the night. I seldom was able to be part of these outings because I didn’t have my license and my wheelchair didn’t fit in their vehicle. After many arguments, promises and pleading we finally talked my dad into sometimes letting us use our expensive handicapped van. Mainly we could use it for church and occasional trips to the mall. Soon everyone had learner’s permits and after that they had cars and a license. This was when life really felt unfair to me! Friends two, three and four years younger than me were driving but I was stuck to the streets of York in my wheelchair. I knew me driving was possible with a new van and fifteen thousand dollars in modifications but no one I knew had forty thousand dollars. The next best thing was having my friends use our family van but with every new driver came a heated debate between my dad and me. As we kept bringing the van back in one piece my dad learned to trust each of them and my crazy friends gained his respect. I might not have been able to go with everyone all the time but when it was important to me my closest friends never left me behind. I would get by with a little help from my friends!
I know I never showed it but not being able to get my license was heartbreaking to me. The only good I could see was a way being provided for me to drive. This never happened but many good parentless memories were made because the outcome of them driving was a good enough to bring my heart to life again. Driving means freedom for most new drivers and somehow my friends helped me to experience it with them. I was upset and discouraged with my lot in life, it was unfair to me and there was nothing I could do to change it. I found joy in the Lord through my parents who saw the attempts we were making to learn about Him and because of it they let us use the van. This calmed things down in my soul and I was able to find cheer in my misfortune (Ps. 94:19). I wouldn’t say I specifically ran to God with this issue but my heart was open to Him so He found me where I was at. He knew why I was sad and discouraged so as I willingly learned about Him for the first time of my own freewill, I put my hope in Him. I met the Lord at the alter so to speak and found the source for an unexplainable joy (Ps. 43:4-5). While Martha was busy playing host to her guests Mary was spending all her time sitting at Jesus feet. She wanted Jesus to set Mary straight for not helping her. Instead He tells Martha while being so upset and worried about things Mary chose what was better and He wouldn’t take that from her (Lk. 10:41-42). When we are upset and worried the better place to be is at Jesus feet and He will take care of what we really need. We are urged to warn those who don’t follow or are disruptive to the Word and to encourage the disheartened (1 Thes. 5:14). The list continues by saying help the weak and be patient with everyone. These two I think are how we can encourage the discouraged. My friends helped me and were patient enough to share their driving privileges so we could be free and that healed my wounded heart.
So many times in this life we run into situations that just are not fair and the power to fix it is beyond our grasp to attain on our own. Life is full of disruptions that cause us to be discouraged, upset or worried. Often we are left hurting, rejected and heartbroken but a better way has been provided if we will be open to it. We can be upset and worried or we can go spend time with Jesus and he will help us in ways we never thought possible. We can find freedom at all times if we will take our eye off our problems and seek the Lord to be the source of our joy.
Lord I pray that as the United States celebrates its freedom on July fourth that we would remember the times when you freed us from our troubles. Also help us to remember the people who have in some way devoted their lives to be in the trenches with us until we were broken no more. Show us God those who are disheartened so that we can help them to feel encouraged when they are weak and help us to be patient in or doing so. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 8:16