The gymnasium atmosphere was filled with energy. Players dribbled up and down the court minus the sound of squeaky shoes. Instead a hand to rubber sound permeated the air as the players maneuvered their wheelchairs into position.
Growing up I watched many of these wheelchair basketball games played out at my neighborhood recreation center. There were also countless games I played in with my legs firmly beneath me. However, these players who relied almost entirely on their upper body strength taught me the meaning of the word perseverance. I would imagine that some of them had been in wheelchairs their entire lives while others had been placed there through accidents in life and war wounds. No matter the reason, perseverance had become a part of the atmosphere of their lives.
Persevering through and capitalizing on disappointment and heartbreak successfully, means acquiring new attributes. There is a strengthening of hope that can take place, just as the upper body muscles of the ball players were strengthened. When one has been dealt the crippling blows of life’s disappointments, reliance upon God gives perspective and strength.
Perhaps you look back over a hard period in your life when you experienced the unimaginable. When you look back, not to delve into self-pity, but for a momentary glance in the rear view mirror to note that God has been with you every step of the way. He carried you through. You are still here. The sage old song lyrics ring out:
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”
You may look back and realize that you are now more filled with wonder. You may have found that in your deepest sorrow and pain, you have found pleasure like never before in a sunrise, butterflies and the moon in the evening’s mist.
When everything you know to be true is questioned, God’s Word shines true and constant. Jesus answered the devil’s questions with scripture and won the battle. He was physically, mentally and emotionally weak, but the truth in scripture sustained Him. The truth in scripture can sustain you too.
Prayer is the gateway to hope. Prayer disciplines the heart that is struggling through disappointment, confusion, and unfulfilled dreams. Prayer disciplines the heart from becoming overwhelmed. As long as there is prayer, there is hope.
When perseverance becomes a part of the atmosphere of your life, you are not destroyed. In matters of faith scripture says:
“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” (Hebrews 10:39)
We gain perspective beyond the here and now and the strength to not succumb to self-pity all the while acknowledging that God was always there. Acknowledging that while we may have to play the game a little differently, we have acquired new attributes that were born out of our pain.
(Photo Cred: Micah Holland)