On January 23, 2004, along a lonely stretch of highway, 65 miles west of Mansfield, Missouri, the life of a young man named Joshua Woodcock changed forever. The 19–year–old was driving home from a meeting at church when suddenly a blowout in the right rear tire caused him to lose control of the car. The car skidded off the left side of the highway and flipped over several times, finally coming to rest in the median between the two highways. Joshua was ejected from the car, and when his body hit the ground, he was barely alive.
He was taken to the hospital, and for several days, his life hung in the balance. His neck had been badly broken. His spine had been severed. After two weeks in intensive care, however, he miraculously pulled through. But his life had dramatically changed. As a paraplegic, he is now confined to a wheelchair. And even though Joshua has made good progress in the past six years, medical staff have told him that he will never walk again.
For a 19–year–old Christian, this represents a stiff challenge to the life of faith. Imagine that your dreams have been dashed, that your life has been violently rearranged. Envision the intense identity crisis that would come about as a result of such severe new physical limitations. In the midst of that wreckage, it would be very tempting to jettison the life of faith.
We all face crossroads, times when we are forced to answer the question: Am I going to continue to live by faith or not? It was Joshua’s firm identity in Jesus Christ and his faith in God that kept him from giving up. Even though the evil one tried to convince Joshua that as a result of his tragic circumstances he wasn’t valued, protected, loved, or even remembered by his God, Joshua was not swayed.
Hebrews 11:1 reads, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” If faith means believing what we do not see, then living by faith means ordering our lives in light of God’s unseen realities. In Joshua’s case, this meant having faith in the unchanging truth of who he was and is in Jesus Christ: created by God (Ps. 139:13), chosen for a purpose (Eph. 1:4), loved by the Father (1 John 3:1), and redeemed with a price (John 3:16).
That tragic accident along the highway was Joshua’s faith–defining challenge. Many people—perhaps most people—would have used that as an opportunity to reject God and become extremely bitter. But not Joshua. In fact, his relationship with God is as strong as it has ever been. Hospital personnel have been amazed to see that Joshua’s faith has never wavered. He has never asked, “Why me?” He has never challenged God’s will. In fact, he has even assured hospital personnel that everything is going to be okay.
Joshua has faith that the things that happen to him happen for a reason, and he knows that by God’s grace, he’ll get through this one day at a time. May we, too, continue to build our lives on the sure foundation of God’s Word, finding our true identity and only hope in Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8).
Devotional forwarded to you by:
UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT
NCCP Ecumenical Ministry of the Church of the Risen Lord
University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC