“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19
I want to share a story with you. It is a story from the Life and Leisure section of the Arizona Republic newspaper, February 26, 1992. It’s written by Alan Gathright. This is a story about a freedom rider. Here is what it says and I quote:
“For 74-year old Melvin Manger, freedom is worth any risk. Paralyzed from the neck down since birth, he has spent more than half of his life shut in at home. Fourteen years ago, he was liberated by a motorized wheelchair and reborn as Cactus Mel the legendary cactus peddler. A cross between the ancient mariner and the road warrior, Mel (as everyone calls him) is out rain or shine, seven days a week, guiding his wheelchair and the wagon he tows behind his wheelchair full of cactus for sale with a chin joystick.”
Let me explain what that [a chin joystick] is. The only place Mel can move is his head. His body is paralyzed from the neck down. So he has a joystick that is attached to his chain. A rod runs from his chain to the controls on the wheelchair.
“So far, Mel has survived four hit-and-run collisions. His body is banged and bruised, but Mel refuses to slow down. He embodies both human frailty and Herculean will. People tell of stopping to help Mel when his wheelchair breaks down, or someone can’t understand his slurred speech, only to have him teach them a lesson about courage and independence.
“He was born with cerebral palsy in 1917. Mel has been at home most of his life. He was kept home by his parents to shield him from the taunts of the outside world. After they died, he was sent to a San Jose nursing home. There, two cousins and a friend (Marta Hessman), urged him to seize his dream of independence. But how do you become independent if you’re paralyzed from the neck down?
“A social worker had told Hessman that Manger was a deaf-mute. But when she listened, she heard a man pouring out the frustration of being trapped in a crippled body. ‘He’s telling me all these things and I’m going to help him. There’s somebody real important inside of there.'” When Hessman suggested an electric wheelchair, the tears just flowed down Mel’s cheeks.
“It was like rebirth. Suddenly, at age 60, the man who had never ventured very far out of his own room, who had never taken a step toward the open road, was going like crazy. Mel said, ‘My heart was in my mouth. I was afraid to get off the sidewalk. But in about two or three months I sneaked off and went to my first movie all alone. Boy, were they mad at the nursing home. I just told them that I didn’t need that place.’
“Since then, failing health has not kept him off the streets. Neither has traffic. Once police had to pull him off the on ramp to Interstate 280. Mel is an incurable flirt and he relishes his ‘Hell on Wheels’ reputation.”
There’s a lot that can be learned from people like Mel. We may be handicapped in some way. There is a part of all of us that has stayed inside of a room, a personal prison, and has not ventured out for most of our lifetime. We do not so much need the vehicle of an electric wheelchair. We need the vehicle of faith in God in that one particular area of our life – in all areas of our life.
We need to know that we can do what we’ve failed at in the past. We have to know again that we have the power to go where we want to go . And if we have that belief, (and I know that you have that belief in most of the areas of your life), in that one area of our life that is still a little weak, we can change our lives with God’s help.
There are so many ways that we limit ourselves. Mel did not let life limit him. And
GOD NEVER LIMITS YOU!
God never gives you a handicap that you cannot overcome. If there is any area in your life that is not up to God-perfection, God is also giving you the power and ideas to overcome once and forever that handicap that may have held you as a shut-in way too long. Are you a shut – in of your own making; a shut in within yourself (a prisoner of your own making). What is keeping you “in?”
Take a firm, positive stand in refusing to admit that there is lack of any kind in your life. When you look with your all-seeing, all-discerning eye of faith, you see God’s abundant help manifesting to meet every need of yours.
Each one of us is an avenue through which God works.
We are praying with you and for you. Great is thy faith. Be it done unto thee even as thou wilt. “We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.” Psalm 124:7
You have a knowingness inside of you that is not of you. It is of God. God is not separate from you. God is not a million miles away. God is closer than breath inside of you, and God knows what to do.
If you are shut-in in some area of your life, if you feel handicapped in some area, God knows what to do. God knows what to do to bring you back into health or prosperity.
There is something inside of you, (a potential gold mine), to develop. Now, if we have a gold mine, we have to dig in the earth. Sometimes the digging is difficult and intense – granted. But we have to keep digging and we’ll find that core vein of gold running through. If we dig deep inside of us and we find gold there, we find a vein. Then, with God’s help we refine it, until it is pure. You will find all you need for every day of your existence.
Montane said, “Man is certainly stark mad. He can’t make a worm, and yet he will make gods by the dozens.” What have we made gods of in our lives? food, television, aches and pains?? Sometimes we make gods of even our limitations, the things that imprison us. We may think that it’s funny that we would make a god of our own prison cell, but we have. We do it every day. And, we have gotten comfortable in that prison cell. We need to get out of it. We need to walk out.
The hardest point in Mel’s life was when he left the security and safety of that room that he had known all his life. When he first ventured out, it wasn’t. You can just imagine.
The hardest thing that you have to do will be to venture out in that area where you are unsure of yourself. But remember, God is with you now. Pretty soon you will be going further and further. We have evolved past the point where we need to depend on luck or charms. God has the power in our lives.
We need to know with certainty that God changes I can’t to I CAN inside of you. God is not I can’t. God is an I CAN God.
God’s help is instant and automatic, the moment you ask for it. It keeps coming and coming and coming. You don’t have to depend on it. It is automatic. You just know that it is there. And in your knowing it continues to come through you. It is the knowing-with God I CAN; I know that God is with me now and I’m going to make it through.
Nothing can stand in your way because you are a child of God. Claim that right now for yourself in faith.
I’m not talking about speed; going faster in your outer life. Gandhi once said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” I’m talking about the stillness of prayer in which the quickening of freedom takes place. You’re in fourth dimension beyond the manifest world of the third dimension. You’re not so tense. You don’t have so much worry. You’re not spinning your wheels. Everything is working out okay. You’re consenting in that moment to God, and that becomes a powerful prayer.
Remember the Israelites and how they complained to Moses over and over. They were stuck in their “prison” and preferred to live in it than to venture out – to trust in the Lord. Moses said to the people, “Fear not. Stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord which will work for you today.”
Now, the salvation of the Lord is not a one time, one event thing that happens in your lifetime. It is a multi-event that happens every day, every moment of your existence. When you are in a problem state and you’re beginning to listen to your “prison thoughts”, stand firm and wait for the salvation of the Lord which will always bring good.
“For the Egyptians who you see today, you will never see again” The Lord will fight for you. You have only to believe to go forward.'”
Here’s Moses with the water in front of him, and yet he is being told to go forward. This is a lesson that has been told over and over again. When you can’t see, the reason you can’t see is because your prison thoughts have blinded you to the good. There is going to be a firm foundation underneath your feet with your walk.
“Lift up your rod, stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it that the people may go on dry land through the sea.”
You stretch out your hand and you say, “I believe in God.” You admit that you are frightened, but you know that God is going to provide a way for you. Then, whatever that sea of adversity is in your life is going to part in front of you and you are going to walk through safely and on dry land. There is no way that you’re not going to succeed, because God inside of you is not a God of failure.
“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
Put your knowingness into high gear. Today, give yourself the gift of knowing that you are connected with God. Give yourself the gift to become a leader of your own thoughts that are of God. Give yourself the gift that you are going to unlock that prison door. You are going to rise above your handicaps. You are going to affirm in positive prayer what you want to happen in your life, even if outer appearances say the opposite. Then you are going to speak your affirmation and you are going to feel and believe it totally from the core of your being. You are going to expect your good to come through your God. Then you are going to walk forward, giving thanks because you’re walking on dry land with new found freedom over personal bondage.
Free to be; free to live….thanks be to God.
God bless you!