Monday, December 18, 2017

He’s Strong Enough

November 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Manna, Monthly Articles

Do you ever find yourself in a battle where you don’t feel strong enough to fight it?  Perhaps, you’re like me and have some giants standing in your way. While I love the story of David and Goliath, many of my battles take a long time to see the victory. For instance, an expecting mom endures lots of discomfort for nine months until the baby is born. Recently, my co-worker gave birth to a son. She said he was worth it. Today, I want to talk to you about patience and why those we love are worth it!

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.  Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.  Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:7-16 NIV.

Although I’m NOT known for eating veggies, I love gardening and look forward to sharing the harvest with my friends. In order to yield a plentiful harvest, I need to be diligent to water and weed my garden throughout the summer. Last month, I reaped tons of veggies including squash, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

The Message Bible describes “patience” as the willingness to stick with something through delay or growth. I’m grateful God was willing to stick with me when things didn’t look promising. For those who don’t know my story, I experienced a delay in breathing at birth for 26 minutes that resulted in Cerebral Palsy. The doctors gave my parents little hope for a ‘normal’ future like they expected for my siblings. I’m a testimony of His grace.

In February, I went to Jacksonville, FL to speak in three different venues. A friend from college pastors a rapidly growing church out there. I spoke on suffering from Romans 8:18-25 and how my challenges don’t compare with the glory that will be revealed in me. In 2 Corinthians 4:11, Paul says, “We live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus.” He lists some of his challenges in chapters 11 like: receiving 39 stripes five times, beatings with rods three times, shipwreck three times, and the list goes on.

The Apostle writes to the Romans in 8:25 as one who knows suffering intimately and says, “It’s not a big deal!” I don’t like pain and will let everyone know IT IS a big deal!

Whether God gives me a creative miracle in this life or a new body in heaven, my disability is TEMPORARY. It’s only a light affliction that does not begin to compare with what God has for me. Although I get frustrated and stressed with life some days, I know this world isn’t my final destination. Having an eternal perspective has helped me see all my fun with CP as no big deal.

Romans 8:20-21 says that all creation was subjected to frustration and that it will be liberated. The Apostle said in 2 Cor 4:8, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.” Jesus said we will have troubles in this world whether or not we have a disability. Perhaps God lets us experience trouble to remind us that this isn’t our home.

I also think I need to be patient in my relationships. While Laurie and I have been dating each other for many years, we believe God still has something special for us. Despite both of us having Cerebral Palsy, we drove all over Wisconsin in the early days of our relationship. As the seasons change, we experience difficult challenges like sicknesses, surgeries, job loss, death of parents, and physical deterioration resulting from our muscles working against each other.

I used to love to drive with Laurie to a park near a river where we could sit, TALK, and enjoy the outdoors. We haven’t  done that in years. Many things are tougher for us! Life is frustrating some days, tempting us to grumble.

When I first started dating Laurie, I told her that she was my gift from God. I believe many of our relationships are gifts from God. They’re worth the effort! James says to stick with them and don’t let the enemy steal a cherished gift, even when the fight is very demanding!

In June, I went to a music festival at a church I used to attend. Matthew West came on and sang “Strong Enough” which sums up where Laurie and I are at. It talks about how we’re not strong enough to face our struggles, but we can overcome them though Christ!  He is strong enough when we’re NOT!

James encourages us to confess our challenges and pray for each other. In March, Laurie and I invited some of our friends to come and pray with us regarding the obstacles we regularly face. We asked them to do something very special; to baptize us as a couple as an expression of our love to God and to each other. By going under the water, we identified with Christ’s death and gave Him the fear and frustrations concerning our challenges. They helped us give things to God by holding us under the water for some time. Laurie and I wanted a pointed reference of giving God control. We came out of the water believing Christ’s resurrection power will be with us to overcome. He wants to help us in ways we never expected. As baptism represents new beginnings, we’re excited about the next steps God has for us.

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Bradley Mattrisch Special TouchNational Coordinator of Support Ministries As a result of a delay in breathing for 26 minutes at birth, he has Cerebral Palsy. Brad has been involved with the Special Touch Summer Get Away Program since the summer of 1982. At the first Get Away, he sensed God calling him to help people understand the Bible. Brad later earned a Bachelors of Business Administration degree in Management Computer Systems as well as a Bachelors of Arts degree Bible & Theology. After graduation, he participated in several ministry activities with his church and Special Touch. Brad was given the opportunity to learned about church planting as well as speak and teach. After working for several years in Information Technology with a large consulting company, he decided to make his ministry hobby his full-time calling. Despite Brad’s disability, he is an U.S. Missionary Associate as well as an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. Brad now oversees the ministry’s Pastoral Care department that includes a fair amount of writing and speaking. He wants to develop friendships with others that need encouragement and Biblical counsel. Brad also coordinates the ministry’s Information Technology needs. He lives with his cats, Penny and Oreo, as well as his dog, Daisy, in Appleton, Wisconsin. Brad currently attends Radiant Fellowship in Waupaca, WI. Brad has a message to share with the church, especially to those who face challenges. Brad’s sermons are often accompanied with laughter, tears, and lives touched by God. He writes a manuscript and transfers it to a PowerPoint presentation which is projected, so the congregation can follow along as he speaks.

Contact Information: 715-258-2713 (office) bmattrisch@specialtouch.org (email)

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Comments

3 Responses to “He’s Strong Enough”
  1. What a powerful and inspiring story. Wow, it makes me want to praise the Lord for giving you His faith and strength in your ongoing physical battles. Thank you for sharing your story and for giving God glory in your circumstances. I am convicted and encouraged by it.

  2. BethL says:

    I love the reminder that this world is NOT our home. Your message is filled with hope and encouragement. Thank you!

  3. Your story is amazing–your patience and faith in particular. No your strength–that’s what’s the most moving!!! Your life shows clearly how we are made in God’s image.

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