Hope is the Difference.

 
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Have you ever sensed that you were being set up for something grand? Something way bigger than you could possibly pull off on your own?

I found myself standing in the Bronx after an all-night prayer vigil when my attention was suddenly drawn, directed even, to a man seated in a wheelchair. I asked, and then learned, how a year prior Mike had been in the backseat of a taxi when a large delivery truck smashed into the cab, crushing his legs from the knees down. The doctors were able to save his legs, but Mike was left immobile, with only two sensations: numbness and extreme pain. 

My friend and I began praying when Mike said, “You know, it’s funny. It’s almost like someone shot electricity down my knee caps into my legs.”

We prayed a little longer, and I again asked Mike what he was feeling. “It’s like all the numbness that was there is just gone. And there’s only a little pain I feel in my left ankle.” We prayed again and moved Mike to a more level area asking if we could lock arms on either side to try holding him up. Kindly, he agreed. 

Keep in mind, we had just met Mike. He didn’t know us from a stranger.
 
I took my arm out from under his and within a few minutes motioned for my friend to do the same. There Mike was––standing in the Bronx––completely unassisted with 100% of his weight on his previously crushed legs. 

I quietly wept, foolishly pretending I wasn’t as shocked as he was.
 
Mike then surprised us by saying he was going to walk. “My legs feel so good and so strong, I’m just going to go for it.”

He then took about eight steps, completely unassisted, turned around, and walked back to his chair. He did this on three different occasions. His only “issue” was realizing the soreness in his legs from all the walking. 

He smiled explosively and said, “I could walk a thousand miles but my muscles need to catch up with my heart.” 

For most of my Christian life I have experienced this tension, similar to Mike’s heart and legs.

Though my faith muscles weren’t smashed by a delivery truck, they seemed to have painfully atrophied all the same. 

Hope is the difference.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. - Proverbs 13:12 

&

For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. - Job 14:7

Jesus overcame 3 obstacles when He healed Mike’s legs: 

1. Immobility. 
2. Numbness.
3. Extreme pain. 

Jesus delivers 3 other-worldly breakthroughs when He works through you: 

1. Mobility. 
2. Sensitivity.
3. Joy.

Jesus, here is the immobility, numbness and pain I feel. Help me to imagine walking a thousand miles closer to loving You and neighbors. Thank You for hope.

What routinely blocks your hope?