“When I saw you laying on that bed, it felt like I was watching your funeral.”
That’s how a good friend described the scene he observed as he sat there and watched so many of my friends and family come to visit me in the hospital. His words would eventually cause me to imagine it in much the same way as he did and would ultimately force me to ask myself, “Did the people who came to my “funeral” truly know who they’d come to visit?”
It was while searching for the answer to this question that I discovered much about my life that was markedly inconsistent with what I was claiming to believe
I’d been 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 was just picking and choosing the parts I gave to Him instead.
My life was always more about me and mine and not God and others.
Sadly, the more I learned about myself, the more I realized that these “funeral” visitors in the hospital didn’t fully know who I truly was. But God didn’t start beating me up or shaming me for this. Instead, He was patiently waiting for me to ask for forgiveness, something He freely gave and which then 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 long overdue self-realization.
I am still amazed that God, in a way only He can do, was able to use my brain injury to start teaching me things about Him and myself that I didn’t know 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 to understand who I was not.
It was through my journey with a traumatic brain injury that God was somehow able to change my heart and open my eyes to a brand new way of living, one much different than my former way and one much closer to what He has envisioned for all of us. 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, where we love and care for people regardless of who they are or what they can offer us, where we’re dependent on God for all we do, where we’re not afraid to take risks for Him, and where we constantly 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 called to die to ourselves and live completely for Him, where each one of us needs to have our own “funeral” every single 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