“When I came to see you in the hospital after your accident, I felt like I was watching your funeral.”
That’s something a good friend of mine said to me just a few months after I suffered my brain injury.
His words actually caused me to view the scene in my hospital room in much the same way as he did, like I was watching my very own funeral. This was an imaginary vision that forced me to ask myself a very difficult and ultimately quite revealing question:
“Did the people who came to see me at my “funeral” truly know who’d they’d come to see?”
My search for the answer led to the uncovering of a lot of things that I didn’t like, things about myself and my life that were inconsistent with what I was claiming to believe.
I was extremely prideful and felt I had everything figured out and under control.
I was living very comfortably and tried to stay away from anything that had the potential to make me uncomfortable.
I had “faith in” and "trusted" God but, for the most part, was still trying to do things on my own power.
I hadn’t totally surrendered my life to God but just was picking and choosing the parts I gave to Him instead.
My life was always more about me and mine and not God and others.
It seemed like the more I learned about my true self, the more I realized my answer to the question above was one I was quite embarrassed to admit:
“The people who came to see me in the hospital didn’t fully know who they were seeing when they came.”
God certainly convicted me of my attitudes and actions, but He didn’t beat me up or shame me for my answer. Instead, He was just patiently waiting for me to ask for forgiveness, something He freely gave me and which led to some much-needed repentance on my part. I was also humbled by and thankful for all the friends and family who were so gracious to me when I had this self-realization.
I am still amazed that God, in a way only He can do, was able to use my brain injury to teach me things about Him and myself that I hadn’t fully grasped yet. He started teaching me many wonderful and beautiful truths about His love and grace that I may have never learned otherwise. I was awakened to the full gospel message and I finally began to see Jesus for who He truly is and understood who I was not.
Through my journey with a traumatic brain injury, God truly changed my heart and opened my eyes to a brand new way of living. It was one much different than my former way, and one much closer to what He has envisioned for us all.
It’s a way of living where we’re unashamed to be followers of Jesus, where we’re honest with God and with others about our struggles, and where we love and care for people regardless of what they can offer us.
It’s a way of living where we’re dependent on God for all we do, where we’re not afraid to take risks for Him, and where we work to grow in our faith but are still able to find rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
It’s a way of living where we’re always being called to die to ourselves and to live completely for Him, one where we’re each called to have our own “funeral” every day!
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.” Mark 8:35
* Image by Jeremy Cowart