In life, never give up and be strong

Everyone is on a journey called life. Along the journey, we come across different experiences and situations. In other words, we’re presented with challenges and choices that either hold us back or move us forward. We then become the person we are or aren’t designed to be based on the choices we make or how we handle challenges. From there, we could conclude whether it’s a good experience or a bad one – a life well lived or a life wasted.

Dave was 12-years-old when he was struck with polio (known by the dreaded name of Infantile Paralysis during the 1940s). He spent over five months in an iron lung and another four months in rehabilitation therapy. Dave endured painful treatments and tried to be brave despite being frightened whenever he heard the “death wagon” coming down the hallway. At night, Dave often shook with fear and sometimes wondered if the people pushing the “death wagon” were coming for him. He weighed about 100 pounds when he entered the hospital; when he got out of the hospital, he had lost 50 pounds.  

After months of physical therapy, it became evident that Dave’s leg muscles couldn’t hold him up. Although he couldn’t use crutches, his arms were strong enough for him to use a wheelchair.

For many other young people, that should have been it. However, Dave wouldn’t let his disability define him or determine his destiny. With the love and support of his family, friends, colleagues, and other people, he rose above his disability. As he realized his disability could never stop him from achieving great things, he found a deeper purpose in life – and spent the rest of his life fulfilling that purpose. In doing so, he made a difference in the lives of most people.

The fact is, statistically Dave was a victim of polio as were many other kids in the 1940s. However, from my perspective, he was a victor. Not only did he complete a homebound learning program and attend a special school for handicapped children but he also attended a regular high school for his junior and senior years. His grandmother bought him his first car so he wouldn’t have to always rely on others for transportation. He took up photography. He attended Wayne State University (WSU). To top it all, he became the boss of his company.

Dave was a victor because he took his disability as an advantage and used his experiences to help improve the health and well-being of people with handicaps. Rather than become a burden to family and society, he chose to become of service to others. Rather than play the victim card and wallow into a lifelong pity party, he accepted reality, embraced his responsibilities, made the most of every opportunity he got – and enjoyed his life to the fullest.

The life Dave lived would never be possible without the love and support of his family, friends, and colleagues – and Jesus Christ, whom Dave accepted as his personal savior at the age of 11. After getting out of the hospital, 12-year-old Dave had two choices: be the victim and become defeated – or be the victor as Jesus Christ intended him to be. I’m grateful he chose the latter option. By transforming himself, he had transformed others.

God wants you to be a victor, not a victim

I would like to advise others, especially the handicapped, that God has made them a victor, not a victim. You can be a victim or a victor, but you can’t be both. The choice is yours… but if you can, be a victor because God can make anything work for good – and for you, just like how He did with Dave.

Learn to see past the wheelchair. Using a wheelchair does not define who you are. You may have been a victim in the past but that doesn’t mean you have to be a victim forever. Your past or disability doesn’t have to determine your destiny. No matter what you have been through, you can still overcome the circumstances of your life, that is, be realizing you have complete control of your future and getting rid of any resentment you may be harboring.

God wants you to be a victor, not a victim, so never give up and be strong.

Image by Gregory Akinlotan from Pixabay

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