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Sunday, November 21, 2010

If Only... Life's missed Opportunities

Photo: Tigner J.

Bear in mind Apostle Paul who thought the throne in his side impeded him from doing more for Christ. God saw it differently, “my grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:7-10. Moses was yet another who requested God to remove his infliction. Why wouldn’t a sovereign God help Moses during his time of need? God had granted him powers to do all things along with the ability to let Pharaoh see he was sent by God. Despite it all God did not take away the one thing Moses thought would inhibit him from doing his best. Moses had a speech impediment, he stuttered. Exodus 4: 10 God’s grace is sufficient.

People frequently complain that their goals and objectives cannot be accomplished due to stumbling blocks, health issues or impairments. Repeatedly they preface situations or misfortunes with two words ‘If only’. These two ineffectual words have become habitual, causing a lack of success and giving people a reason not to follow through on goals, careers, dreams and desires in life.

I’ve come to present some remarkable people who beat the odds and did not allow their mishaps keep them from reaching their zenith in life.

“All of our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them” - Stockwell

Melssa Stockwell
Take for example Army 1st Lt. Melissa Stockwell who lost her leg in the Iraq War. She has done her greatest work with one leg. During rehabilitation she embraced swimming and focused on something different. She stated it "made me feel more like myself." So apposed to drowning in self pity Melissa became a world class amputee swimmer breaking records with the Paralympics and qualified for the summer games in China. In Melissa’s words she has done more with one leg than she would have with two. The tragedy "hasn't changed my outlook much. I'm going to the Paralympics. I have a career (working for a prosthetics company).” A hidden talent was uncovered. Melissa did not take the attitude ‘If only’ I had two legs I could fulfill my dreams nor believe life was over unlike many who would have cried and complained to God if they were in such circumstances as this solider. Melissa is soaring higher than ever imagined all because she did see her disability as an inability to accomplish something new.

Clark College’s oldest graduate

How about Mrs. Albernia Hardeman, an 85 year old dorm director who took one class per year since 1965 and finally obtained a BA in communication in 1985. You are not the first to ask why a woman at that age would get a degree she can’t do anything with. On the contrary Mrs. Hardeman never gave up on her dream regardless how long it took. If this regal woman in her golden years can accomplish her goals why can’t you?

Mary Price Walls
Now take a look at Mary Price Walls, whose application was rejected by University of Missouri all based on the color of her skin. Here is a woman who wanted to attend college and in her mind’s eye believed "I would have made a wonderful school teacher." Ms. Walls give the impression since the University of Missouri shut the door in her face she, substituted becoming an educator for a career as a janitor and elevator operator. Where there other institutions accepting minorities at that time? Of course, my mother and a host of her friends all obtained degrees and went on to higher levels of education at such institutions as Columbia University a decade earlier than Ms. Walls. So, did Mary Walls give up and allow one closed door opportunity turn into a deterrent? Yes.

The new crusade

For every tragedy or disappointment I believe God has an opportunity for you to succeed as a spokesman for Him. Bobby Tillman was randomly murdered. The Douglasville, Georgia teen was targeted by a group of boys because he was the ‘next person’ walking down the streets. Monique Rivarde lost her child for no probable cause. Unlike many parents who have faced such tragedy, this courageous mother is on a crusade since her son’s death. She has been seen attending and forming rallies in the name of Bobby. “If I can get through to one child, then I know my son's death was not in vain. Is Ms. Rivarde grieving? I’m sure she is. In spite of all the pain she is defying all odds by not sitting in a corner with dark shades questioning God. Bobby Tillman’s mother has chosen to step out and turn her tragedy into a victory not just for other parents but for Christ!

We can do all things through Christ that can strengthen us, make crooked paths straight and mount wings like eagles. 'If only' we believe in ourselves, trust in God and keep the faith of a mustard seed all aspirations can be accomplished provided we allow Jesus Christ to take control of our life. The next time the words ‘if only’ surface find the inner strength to keep pressing on in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tigner J. 

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