Shattered Innocence

SHATTERED INNOCENCE by Ray Pritchard I met Bill last Tuesday morning when he picked me up at the Pittsburgh airport. As he drove me to the television studio, I noticed that his right arm was limp. Almost as an aside, he mentioned that he had injured it in a motorcycle accident about 16 years ago. Coming around a curve too fast, he hit the steel girders of a bridge and the major nerves controlling the muscles of his right arm were irretrievably damaged. His arm was saved but he has almost no feeling in it. Then he told me the bigger picture. It happened at a moment when he was on the fast track in a high-pressure job in the medical field. He was working day and night, making money, running up huge debts, and trying to hold his struggling marriage together. Were you a Christian back then? “Yes,” he replied, “but the Lord wasn’t important in my life.” The accident radically changed everything. While he was still in the hospital, the doctors he worked with came to his room and said, “It’s been fun, but your job here is finished.” Just like that his career dreams came crashing down. The next few years were extremely difficult. Nothing was easy, but little by little the sun slowly began to shine again. Bill still had one hurdle to overcome–the anger he felt over the loss of his dreams. He felt cheated somehow, as if God had dangled something wonderful in front of him and then suddenly taken it away. The turning point came when he heard a speaker remark that God intends to bless us in the midst of our adversities. He intends that our difficulties become a pathway for divine blessings to come to us. Something about that thought gripped Bill’s soul, and while driving the very freeway we were traveling last Tuesday, he pulled his car over to the roadside and began to weep. The Lord said to him, “Your anger is a cup filled to the brim. If you want my joy, you must let go of your anger and release it so that my joy may flow into your life.” A great transaction took place that day when Bill wept by the side of the road. In yielding his anger over what he had lost to the Lord, he opened his soul to a blessing that could come no other way. The accident that left him with a useless right arm shattered more than his nerves. It ended the innocence of believing that life is like a fairy tale where every story always has a happy ending. Without some new medical advance, Bill’s right arm will never work as it should, but having met him, I can testify that he is a man of exuberant faith. Our God is infinitely creative and he has a million ways to bring beauty out of ashes if only we will cooperate with him.

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