“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
My close friend Ronnie and his brother witnessed a car accident and jumped out to help. Ronnie leaped over a downed electrical line to grab the car door, and thousands of volts of electricity entered his side and exited through both of his feet, pinning him to the ground as he was electrocuted over and over. His brother was able to pull him away with a broken limb. Soon, Life Flight whisked him away to a burn center.
When I received word that they were amputating both of his legs, I remember thinking, “He’ll never make it.” It’s not that I thought he would die, but that the loss might crush him. He was an athlete. He was fiercely independent. When we were in college, he hurt his leg in a motorcycle accident and being dependent on others during his recovery frustrated him.
I arrived at the hospital and stood by his side. I wept at the sight of my unconscious friend. Over the next several months Ronnie went through multiple surgeries.
Over time we lost touch until one day he showed up at my church. He and his family, now complete with a son and a daughter, had moved nearby.
In many ways Ronnie was changed. He was a little gray around the temples. He carried a few extra pounds. But it was what was the same that was so beautiful. His sense of humor was intact. His faith was deeper than it had ever been.
He confessed there were dark days, especially in the beginning when he realized how dependent he had to be on his wife and a medical team. But in that time he had learned how dependent he could be on God, and how our Heavenly Father can somehow take tragedies and redeem them.
Ronnie is a teacher at a school for the blind, and it is his story that connects them in the beginning, though it is his sheer love for teaching that takes the student/teacher relationship deeper. He doesn’t just walk on two prosthetic legs. He farms. He rides a tractor. He goes on mission trips. He walks with others who have recently lost their legs, helping them to stand again.
Ronnie is the first to admit that despite his independence in life, spiritually he ismore dependent on God than ever, and it’s a gift.
Desperate dependence is where you surrender, not to the circumstances or to loss, but to God. Author Max Davis says, “Desperate dependence is the place where we can stop living by our own power.” It’s where we discover God’s strength in and through us.
That’s what happened with my friend Ronnie. And it’s what can happen with you and me.
Dear Lord, I’m in a hard place. I am used to being self-sufficient. Today I reach for You. I ask that You help me to place my trust in You completely, Amen.
By T. Suzanne Eller