Yesterday was a bittersweet day for Joann and me. We were blessed to be able to encourage many people in two different churches with our ministry “Living In Spite Of.” However, we also donated two of our son, Johnny’s wheelchairs to Joni and Friends Wheels for the World Ministry ( http://www.joniandfriends.org/wheels-for-the-world/.) This ministry refurbishes and gives wheelchairs to those in need around the world, along with giving them the gospel. Knowing that our son’s legacy will live on through his wheelchairs is a huge blessing. However, it was hard to let go of those chairs. Since Johnny’s home going back in October 2015, I have had his wheelchair in the back of my SUV. The wheels had gone flat and it was taking up space, but it was part of Johnny that I could still hold on to. I had someone tell me about a year ago I should get that out of my car and give it to someone that could use it. He obviously didn’t understand the emotional attachment I had to that chair.
I was the only one our son would let push him in his wheelchair. He had been dumped out of his chair by friends and others that tried to push him far too often. He wouldn’t even let his Mom push him if I was around. There was one instance, when he went to the mall with his brothers, as they walked by a women’s lingerie store, Johnny covered his eyes so he wouldn’t see the pictures of the woman in the store window, only to take his hands away and realize he had been pushed into the store by one of them as they walked by. Johnny was horrified, and backed his chair out of there as fast as he could. No wonder he didn’t want his brothers in control of the chair.
He always felt a little safer with me behind the chair, even though there were times I didn’t see cracks or holes in the sidewalk and almost launched him out of the chair myself. Through the years, I have pushed him in his chair through the theme parks of Disney World, several Tiger Baseball games, malls, and even the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes on Lake Michigan (Not an easy task I might add.)
The security Johnny must have felt having me behind the chair makes me think of how we shouldn’t allow anyone or anything guide our lives other than our Lord. He knows where all the cracks and holes are along the path of our life. Proverbs 3:23 “ Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.” There was always a trust that my son had in me as I moved him along, most of the time not knowing exacting where I was taking him. We must learn to have that same kind of trust in the Lord. Most times we have no idea where the path we are on will really lead, we need to obey and allow Him control over our lives.
Giving over control to God is not an easy thing to do, we like having control, and we don’t like being vulnerable. If we learn to trust in His direction, however after a while, we will develop a sense of security, as he walks “behind the chair” so to speak. Just like Johnny never really saw me, he just had confidence that I knew where I was going.
Letting go of Johnny’s wheelchairs was a very difficult thing for us to do. There were many tears and a sense of loss. The man that was going to take them and put them into the ministry, prayed for them to be used of God, and for Johnny’s Mom and Dad to have comfort in knowing that those chairs will be used to spread God’s love to others. I appreciated so much his understanding of how emotional it was for us to let go of those chairs.
Our prayers ought to be that, as we let go of the control on our life, that we will be used to spread God’s love to the world. After all the miles we have been in control, it’s not easy, but the right thing to do.