Wednesday night at church, after reading the above passage, our pastor asked those in the congregation if anyone had ever wanted to run in a marathon.
No one raised their hand.
Except for Ethan.
Only me and Jim noticed. Ethan can't raise his arms above his head without a lot of effort. But we knew he was trying to raise his hand.
Then our pastor asked if anyone had ever wanted to participate in a triathlon.
No hands went up.
Except for Ethan.
The only one in the building that was sitting in a wheelchair.
I looked at Jim and saw that his heart was breaking, right along with mine.
God is good.
God is love.
God's ways are not our ways.
But they are good. They are perfect.
His grace is sufficient.
On the way home that night, I thought about how Ethan had never been a runner. He was always honest about not liking to run. He used to joke about choosing golf as his sport, because it required no running. Only walking.
But now. . . now that he can't walk, running sure sounds good. And, I think all the pain and agony he would have to go through to train for a marathon or a triathlon, would turn into joy. After having lost the choice, the preparation would turn into something to be savored, instead of something to dread.
But, we're all like that, aren't we? The very thing that seems to require a lot of effort to do, can seem pretty appealing when the opportunity is taken away.
Like taking the opportunity to go to the gym and exercise while I'm physically able to do so.
To go outside for a long walk while the sun in shinning.
To allow God to heal a relationship with a family member or friend while there is still an opportunity to make things right.
To spend time with the ones we love while they are with us.
To let God use our lives in the lives of others that we come in contact with today, but may never see again.
Unfortunately, the saying is true. We don't always know what we have, until we lose it.
A while back, a friend of ours told us. . . with tears in his eyes. . . that every time we bring Ethan into church, he thinks about how when Ethan gets to heaven that Jesus will greet him saying, "Run Ethan, Run!" Like in Forrest Gump. And, that Ethan will take off running for Him.
Won't that be a glorious day?
When there will no more missed opportunities. No more regrets.
And, when there will be no more sorrow. No more tears.
And. . . no more wheelchairs!