By Patrick Showers, Associate Elementary Pastor
Woodland Hills Church
Being in a wheelchair, I’m used to kids asking me, “Why are you in that chair?” They see something unique and different, yet, instead of being afraid, their natural inquisitiveness takes charge and they seek to know my story. Some kids aren’t as bold to ask but instead, stop and stare the first time they see me rolling around. I enjoy watching the reactions of children. Parents, of course are horrified that their kids would stare or ask about my disability. I imagine most people want to know more about it but don’t know if it is ok to ask.
All of our lives are stories that are unfolding day by day. At different points in our lives we experience highs or lows, calm times, chaotic times, joy, and even pain. When we hear stories of people who’ve dealt with deep pain or suffering, we are moved with compassion. Conversely, others who overcome these situations and difficulties inspire us. Yet, each of our life stories is noteworthy, even if our life’s ups and downs are different from others.
Our lives come from God Himself. We were created in His image. We are His children and His story has been set forth from creation. His epic tale describes His selfless and passionate love for us and His desire to rescue everyone. Our stories are part of God’s story, and we often don’t realize it till we surrender our lives to Him. At that point, we step into the role He wrote into His story just for us. Whether our story is filled with suffering or not, when we embrace the role that was custom made for us, our lives are transformed. God empowers us and equips us to use our life experiences for our part in His epic tale.
Kids innately know that each of us has a story. Their curiosity is part of that built-in desire to connect with the stories of others. As adults, we also crave to know people through their stories. We are curious when someone is hurting, we watch TV shows and movies filled with inspiring tales, and some of us even read gossip magazines.
The problem with looking too much at other people’s stories is that we compare theirs to our own. We start to think our story isn’t that exciting or downplay our pain/suffering. We begin to doubt that our lifetime of experiences is worthwhile or worthy of being a part of God’s epic. Some people fall into denial about the pain they are suffering. Yet, regardless of the type of pain, it is still painful to us. Our suffering is uniquely ours. It can be debilitating. It can be life changing. It can be big or small. However, if it stops us from living out our role in God’s story, it needs to be brought before the healing power of God.
People often see my wheelchair and know that I’ve suffered a lot. Although my life -changing accident is obvious to all, it does not diminish the invisible pain and suffering of others. My story is uniquely my “own” and when I asked God for healing, he delivered my heart of a tremendous burden even though my body is still broken.
Each of us has a lifetime of experiences, good or bad, that shape our story. When we give our lives over to God, our story takes on a completely new thread as we step into our role in His tale. By walking with God, we find healing from pain, and He can shape our experiences into His storyline. Therefore, I encourage you to take your life to God, to seek healing where you need it, and to embrace the role of a lifetime within His unending epic! Share God’s word as a story, and let your kids know that God is seeking to have them step into a custom-made role within it.