The late pastor and author Ron Dunn once proclaimed, “God keeps a man usable by keeping him weak.” To most Christians, this statement is almost a contradiction to their answers to the question, “What makes a person useful to God?” Most would argue that God-given natural abilities and spiritual gifts are useful to God. Others stand by experience or a high-quality education. Either way, many would not look at weaknesses as useful. However, I am a prime example of this remark.
It turns out that the accident I faced in 1996 has been an integral part of the plot of my life. I started my day by asking the Lord to show me someone to point to Him each day. One person, in particular, I am reminded of a friend named John. John, while ill and given a bleak outcome, reached out to me after several years of friendship to introduce him to Jesus. I baptized my friend in his hospital bed and, several months later, preached at his funeral. My personal ministry is one way in which God shows me his favor.
I do not tell stories like that in search of recognition or a pat on the back. I do not fundraise for my school, demolish barriers and launch programs for those who need it most, or build up the community around Columbia to be rewarded or acknowledged. The reason that I serve the way that I do, despite immense pain and a weakened state, is for the Lord. Intimacy with Christ is precious and important, and His grace is sustaining.
Had it not been for my near-fatal accident, I may not be as sensitive to others’ needs as I am today. The weakness associated with my injuries has only made my existing relationship with Christ stronger. And thus, I am aware that the credit for all that I have achieved goes to the Lord, not to me. I would not have seen any of the success that I have without him. My setback has increased my love for people and my concern for their eternal destiny. My accident has made me the leader, father, friend, citizen, president, and the person who I am today.
It is with that reminder that I pray never to lose His favor.