Across the globe there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people receiving bad news today. Some have lost a parent, a child, a family member or a best friend. Some have been diagnosed with life-threatening diseases and told they only had so long to live. Some have been told they would never walk again or drive again or go back to work. Thousands more are watching as loved ones, friends, coworkers, and patients face devastating circumstances that will change their lives forever.
When we see people hurting, what do we do? How do we respond? We may pray, knowing God is the only one who can truly bring peace and comfort and healing to the brokenhearted, but we often feel helpless, not knowing what else to do, so we do nothing more.
Recently a couple of people have been distributing my books to patients in hospitals and other people they cross paths with who happen to be going through a rough time in life. They see it as a ministry. They often don’t know what to say or do for someone, but they have found that leaving a book is a nonthreatening way to offer someone information that may make a huge difference in their life. Not only are the patients reading the book, but their family members are reading it also.
Today I want to challenge you to think of someone you know that has recently received bad news and buy them a book. Between now and Christmas I am running a special on my books, selling them for $12 each plus shipping. I challenge those of you who can afford it to buy a box of 60 books for $600 and distribute them to people you know, students you work with, family members, friends, people in your church, whoever. Place them in waiting rooms of hospitals and doctor’s offices, if they consent.
Why am I doing this? I was sitting outside today and I felt as if God impressed upon me to do it. I have about 1,200 books in my garage and they were meant to be read. Let me tell you a little bit about this book and why I believe it is so important for people who are struggling with the unwanted circumstances in their lives.
A little over 24 years ago I was told that I would never walk again. The doctor’s diagnosis was hard to accept for a young, hard-working, farm boy who wanted nothing more than to be able to live out his dreams. I suffered with depression, thoughts of suicide, and feelings of worthlessness. I questioned whether God still loved me and often felt my circumstances were unfair. I made one small decision to dive off a boat dock and now I was going to be paralyzed from the shoulders down for the rest of my life? It did not make sense to me why God would allow this to happen. I could not see how anything good could ever come from my circumstances unless God performed a miracle and allowed me to walk again.
As time passed and I began to look for meaning and purpose in my life, God changed my outlook and taught me many important life lessons through his Word, influential people, and some of the most unlikely experiences with children. There is actually a chapter in my book titled, “the Big Things I’ve Learned from Little People.” I challenge you to take this book and, if nothing else, read that chapter. There are life lessons in it that everyone needs to understand. There is a story about a little girl who gave me a Butterfinger. From her I learned that I needed to stop focusing on everything that I did not have, and simply give what I had to give. There is another story about a fifth-grade girl who taught me to look beyond my limitations and see that God can still use me. A third grader riding on the back of my wheelchair gave me a lesson on learning to trust God when we have no idea where He is taking us.
Through my struggles, God taught me lessons that I may not have learned with a fully functioning body. He taught me that this life was temporary and the greatest miracle that can happen is one that takes place on the inside of a person. He taught me that my unwanted circumstances were actually opportunities for Him to work, not only to work in me, but also in those around me.
The title, “Learning to Live with It” came from an experience with my three-year-old brother who refused to wipe a pile of bird poop off my shoulder. He told me I needed to “learn to live with it”. God ended up using that circumstance to remind me of the fact that when we cannot change an unwanted circumstance, we have a choice to make. Are we going to respond by accepting it and making the most of life? Or, are we going to spend the rest of our lives bitter about the hand we were dealt. I like to tell people that our unwanted circumstances will either make us bitter or better. How we respond makes all the difference.
This book is a challenge to all who read it, able-bodied or not, to respond positively to life’s challenges and make the most of life despite any unwanted circumstances. I challenge you to get a book. Get several books. Give them as Christmas presents, put them in waiting rooms at your hospital and at your doctor’s office, take one to the hospital room of someone you know who is hurting and read it to them. There’s nothing magic about this book, but there is something powerful about our God’s ability to work in us and through us!
I guarantee you that you can think of someone right now who needs to read this book. More importantly, you can think of someone who needs to know there is no circumstance that will ever separate them from the love of God through Christ Jesus.