Learning about hope

Ok, I’ll admit, I’m slightly afraid of the dark in Zambia, where snakes and lizards and other strange animals live. After hearing stories from friends who’ve encountered puff adders and cobras, I’ve decided to be proactive. Whenever walking, I’m ready with my cat-like reflexes. At night, I lay my ironing board down behind my bedroom door (covering the crack beneath the door) so that no unwanted visitors interrupt my sleep, and I have had no problems (or sightings) yet!

Today, I want to tell you about Jackson, a 40 year-old man who’s been at the hospital for a few weeks. About two years ago he started to develop small nodules in his skin along with weakness. The nodules continued to grow in size and develop in other places while the weakness worsened. He’s been to our hospital several times for evaluations and treatment, with his current stay began about a week ago. When sitting in a chair, he is barely able to lift his thighs off of the chair. He can feed himself but also is losing upper body strength. Because we are limited in our investigative options (no biopsies, CT, or MRI), we are unable to provide him with a firm diagnosis. Our team has concluded he likely has a disease called Neurofibromatosis which is a genetic disease. However, they aren’t 100% because it normally presents earlier in life. We’ve referred him to the large teaching hospital 12 hours away, which he likely won’t reach. Knowing Jackson has been humbling. Every day when I walk by him, he’s smiling. Yesterday when I came to his bed to see how he was doing he was reading the book of John in the Bible. I asked him if he had a favorite story, and he responded that he loves the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead because it gives him hope. If there’s a person who I need to learn from and be more like, it’s Jackson. A man who seemingly has no hope (since he’ll never walk again), but has found something greater…hope in life through Christ.

While I’ve been gone we lost a great man named Randy Storms who was paralyzed yet hopeful in Christ. He and his wife died in a car accident a few weeks ago. Paralyzed by an accident in his early life, he also found hope in Christ, and because of that impacted changed the world by impacting countless lives in Wichita. When you get a few minutes read/hear how this “paralytic” changed the world. The US Senate did last week.