Over the past 18 months of blogging, I have tried to post some inspirational stories about everyday people who face problems head-on with the help of the God.
I recall the one about Braxton, who the Lord brought back to life after the little boy drowned in the family pool. I also wrote about Jackie Smith who dropped a game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl XIII and how he dealt with failure. And one of my favorites was about a girl named Joslynn who used her battle against cancer to teach those around her about courage.
But recently I spoke with a gentleman who has a unique outlook on some “bad news” he received from his doctor.
My wife, Angie, and I recently attended the Night of Champions Hall of Faith Induction on the campus of the Athletes in Action Headquarters in Xenia, Ohio.
Many sports celebrities were there, and I had the chance to catch up with one of the annual award recipients after the dinner.
William White is well known for his days as safety for The Ohio State Buckeyes and played 11 years in the NFL. He started for the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII.
These accomplishments are not what inspired me, although they do impress me.
William told the packed house he recently went in for an annual check-up, and his doctor noticed some twitching in his arms. Several tests later, a neurologist and friend determined he had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
According to the ALS Association website, this is a “progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. “A” means no. “Myo” refers to muscle, and “Trophic” means nourishment – “No muscle nourishment.” When a muscle has no nourishment, it “atrophies” or wastes away. “Lateral” identifies the areas in a person’s spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates, it leads to scarring or hardening (“sclerosis”) in the region.
There is no cure.
“My doc comes in, and he’s crying and he tells me I have ALS,” William said. “I said, ‘Okay. And?’”
He responded to his doctor in a nonchalant way as if his waiter had just said his steak would be right out.
His doctor did not think his patient understood the severity and consequences of the debilitating diagnosis.
“You are going to die from this,” his doctor predicted.
He countered with two points to his physician:
- “We are all born, and we will all die.”
- “I can promise you this, that God is not up there looking down and saying, ‘Hmmm, William, I didn’t see that one coming.’”
The message William gave to the crowd that night is simple. If something happens in your life, you had better believe there is a reason. You may not understand it at the time, but one day, you will if you decide to follow the steps of the Lord.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8: 28
When Ohio State won the 2014 National Championship in football, all the players, coaches, and fans celebrated. Chances are they did not have training camp on their minds or even the next practice. But they reaped the benefits of hard work and saw the results of the trials and tribulations they faced throughout the season.
“That is how life is,” he said, “You go through tough times to come out as a champion. The only way to come out as a champion in life is to live for the Lord Jesus Christ. All those problems and all those circumstances will make you appreciate the Lord when you get your reward.”
His positive attitude impacted me because I have a tendency to complain a little now and then. I need to toss the worry away and focus on the “now.”
Don’t worry about your struggles in life—embrace them.
God is aware of everything that goes on along your journey, and rest assured, it is always going to work out for the good when its over.
“I get to spend eternity with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
“Even when I was told there is no cure for ALS, that’s even better, because I have to place it all in His hands,” William added. “I’m out of the way. He knows what’s best for me.”
When you place your cares in the hands of the Master, the worry should disappear. That doesn’t mean you don’t care, it simply shows you trust in the Lord.
William may be looking death in the face, but his focus is living in Heaven with Christ when his time here is finished.
“I get to spend eternity—not 20 years or 40 years or 80 years—but eternity with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” he added. “That’s awesome,” he said with a smile.
Is there something in your life you need to turn over to the Creator?
Do you trust God even though you lack understanding?
What attitude would you display if you were given “bad news?”