This picture was taken at the New York City Marathon. I don’t know when, but it is striking, telling that no matter what Christ is right there beside you. What I like about this picture is that it is a physical representation of a truly spiritual aspect.
There are a wide variety of verses in the New Testament that share this sentiment such as the prominent one: Luke 9:23-24 which says,
“And He said to all, ‘If come would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (ESV).
And 2 Timothy 3:12-17:
“Indeed, all who desire to live a Godly life will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from who you have learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof (disapproval), for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (ESV).
And we must not forget about 1 Peter 2:21:
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might walk in His steps” (ESV).
These are just a few verses that say that if you choose this lifestyle (as a Christian), you will be persecuted for sticking up for Christ; look at Acts of the Apostles alone. You will see there that not only was Peter, John, Phillip, and Paul being persecuted (until physical death) but also just regular followers of Christ, like Stephen in Acts 6-7. Or more current, read or listen to “The Insanity Of God” where you will find that followers of Christ are currently being tortured for the name of Christ.
However, there is a more true, more current story that has yet to be written, completely. I am talking about the true story of myself. I know there are far better true stories of people overcoming far worse conditions than I had to overcome and still have to overcome. Just take look at some of the true stories in “The Insanity Of God”/”The Insanity Of Obedience”. However, what I am trying to do is make a every person that visits this website a true reason to continue on the set goal of us True Life Believers-that is “Running With Christ…“
Now on to my true story: Early on, back when I was about 11-12 years of age, I decided I wanted to be one of the ones who would be taking it to the limit. In fact, to test my limits I decided to go roller skating. When I first began, I was a fumbling, falling down mess. But something inside me said you are going to master this as I went to “Spinning Wheels” every Saturday from 9-12 pm in Londonderry, NH. Sometimes, I would spend all-day there.
Like every roller skating rink that is around America back in the mid-1980’s, “Spinning Wheels” had an oval polyurethane floor that made it easy to slip on with roller skates. The first few times I went, it was torture to keep myself upright. Before long, however, I was able to keep myself steady with a pair of boots with death wheels attached to them. Yes, it took months of fumbling around before I became steady on my feet, and it took me a few more months to begin to try and roller skate backwards. Yet, by the time I started roller skating backwards, I had enough experience in skating frontwards that I was willing to give backwards a shot. Pretty soon, I was doing nothing but backwards. I remember weaving in and out around people at the rink. I even started to lift my leg with the other one just skating along. Those were the days.
Yet, my new attitude only did not affect my roller skating abilities, but it now affected my spiritual life. I knew God wanted it all-to “Take It To The Limit” as it were, not just a half-hearted effort into whatever you are doing. So, I started looking for ways to share the gospel, then it happened, nearly 2 years later when I was 14.
Searching my memory, I landed on a specific instance in which it happened that it affected my spiritual life. It was in 9th grade. Less than dreadful as grey clouds can sometimes be, grey clouds surrounded that September school day. It was right after school. The school had a make-shift basketball court, and I was shooting some hoops. Figuratively, the basketball came down like someone put cement in the ball instead of air in the ball. The feeling was ominous. Ever trying to decipher what I went through, God knew how to grab my attention, just like He does you.
See, I was praying that God would use me for about a year before the incident at the school happened. During that year prior to the incident at the basketball court, I was an active listener to overseas missionaries, inner-city youth pastors and leaders, etc. So, I decided the youth was where God was going to send me. And God played along with that until shortly after my high school graduation and eighteenth birthday. During those playing along years that God allowed me to go through, I achieved multiple recognitions and awards for preaching 5-minute sermonettes that were directed at the youth. God was preparing me for what I had to face. I knew that I was going to a Christian college to become a youth pastor from the age of 14.
However, God had different plans for my life. Proverbs 20:24 says this,
A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How can anyone understand their own way? (NIV)
Well, I was about to find out in a big way what the Lord Almighty had in store for me. Twenty-five days after my high school graduation and eighteen days after my eighteenth birthday (when you become an adult in the USA), I fell asleep at the wheel just working the night-shift as an unarmed security guard. I should have been dead but wasn’t. No, no, no the Lord had different plans for me. But had I known beforehand, I would have changed my actions before June 28, 1989.
See, that was the day I was overtired and driving (not something I encourage anyone to do) on the highway with absolutely beautiful granite ledges that they tore through in order to make the highway. I crashed into one of the granite ledges that surrounded the highway and instantly put me into a coma for one month with my whole right side paralyzed. That left me with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
One of the doctors assigned to my case said that rarely does anyone see a complete recovery from this type of injury. He said that I would be “lucky” if I progressed any further. Howeverr, through prayers to of Almighty God of much more than my family, I woke up out of the coma.
Although I was out of the coma, I still had a hard and long way to go. For Matthew 7:13-14 says,
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many. For the gate is narrow and hard that leads to life, and those that find it are few” (ESV)
Remember that prayer I prayed to my Daddy outside this world? The prayer that said I would do anything to proclaim His Word back when I was just 13-14 years of age? Yeah, that prayer. I almost protested to God, but thankfully I didn’t. Instead, I eventually accepted it nearly 3 weeks into my rehabilitation process, and thus began my process of physical and spiritual rehabilitation.
It has been over 30 years since that almost fatal car accident, and 37 years since I prayed that original prayer of dedication of taking it to the limit. I remember that prayer of dedication to the Lord Christ Jesus, only to be resaid during my stay at the rehabilitation hospital. To say that my life has been easy is a misnomer. I struggle with a limp, slowness of speech, expressive aphasia (think of it like you know what you want to say but are prevented from saying it), and all about slowness in this fast-paced world. Yet I was looking for verses that showed us True Life Christians exactly how we are supposed to live and operate in this broken-down world. This is when I found this verse: 1 Peter 2:21 and it goes like this-
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps. (ESV)
Now, nearly 31 years after my accident, I am trying to evangelize the disability world. However, don’t think of “the disability world” as those who are unfortunate enough to find themselves in a wheelchair. For instance, I am not in a wheelchair. It comprises much more than that. You have your physical disabilities, your cognitive disabilities, your emotional disabilities, and also spiritual disabilities for those who haven’t accepted the free gift of salvation by accepting Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Rather, God wants perfection in His Kingdom, and by accepting His Son you will have perfection when you physically die.
So, if you are a True Life Christian, you will identify with me in being frustrated at there are so few websites that tell the truth about serving God. It is a farce that God wants you to be healthy, wealthy, and wise here on this earth. For only God contains true wisdom (1 Corinthians 3:19). Rather, be like the ones in Acts that said the continuous prayer to be bold in the face of opposition (Acts 9:27) and continue “Running With Christ…“
~ Darren L. Beattie (sole author)