Meanderings of a Minister

For Better or For Worse

A number of years ago, a Washburn Rural High School Junior from Topeka made a terrible decision that God used for amazing glory.  Perhaps you read the story in the papers after Joe White, and three friends, decided to try to act out some of the stupid stunts they had seen in a movie appropriately titled for a beast of burden not normally known as intelligent.  During a night that involved drinking and false courage brought upon by the encouragement of “friends”, Joe jumped from a moving vehicle only to end up with a brain injury that made him totally have to relearn everything he had known in life.  In addition to the brain injury, he also suffered paralysis of his right side which, being right handed, required him to relearn even the motor skills needed for basic bodily functions.

I met Joe White at Super Summer, our denomination’s youth camp, in Salina, Kansas.  He spoke to the kids about his dumb decision, which he called stupid.  He told them to be safe and don’t do it.  Never, never, never, never do it.  He struggled to complete sentences and got sidetracked at times, but was able to communicate the basic message that he was thankful for this episode because God had used it to get his attention so that he could find out about Jesus and accept Him as his personal Lord and be saved.  He wished he had known Jesus before and did not have to go through it, but he always has a smile on his face when talking about Jesus.

Why do I tell you his story?  Simply because most of us are fair weather friends when it comes to the Lord.  If life gets tough, we want instant delivery.  If we lose something, we pray for it to be returned.  Many of us even go so far as to get mad at God for anything that happens not in accord with our wishes.  Joe White praises God even though he will always have to have an adult escort wherever he goes.  He loves God even though he cannot raise his right hand.  He is dedicated to Christ even though he often can’t remember what he started to say or do.  Do you?

What is there on your list for life in the future that you could not love God without?  Let me ask it a different way.  What is there in your life that you are not willing to give up to Him?  Your children?  Your health?  Your job?  Your income?  Your retirement?  Your reputation?  Your position?  Your house?  Joe would say not to hold on to something so tightly that you cannot keep and lose something you cannot afford to lose.  Jesus said it this way:  For what does it benefit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?


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