The Blessings of Despair

Certainty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” James 4:13

Cerebral palsy afflicted Alex. When I met him, he was three, the same age as my daughter. On this particular day, he accomplished a “miracle of God”, or so my friend had proclaimed.

He stuck his tongue out.

This horrified me. Unsaved and unsure of God’s absolute mercy and love, I saw Alex’s affliction and could acknowledge no miracle in his life.

My own daughter, oblivious of the “workings of God” going on in the kitchen, sat on the living room floor and happily watched Mr. Rogers lead children through his peaceful neighborhood.

As I left my friends’ home, I ranted against the God I did not believe in. How dare he afflict children with appalling conditions? How could my friends, people who’d become my solace during my miserable and lonely marriage, adore a Creator like this Jesus.


When my temper settled, I reflected on the fleeting nature of life, and about the length of eternity.

We live for the breadth of an eye blink. Then, like May flies or a day lily, our brief life ends. We enter eternity–and that goes on and on and on and…

You get the idea.

Alex’s affliction, in the span of forever, was brief, shorter than the life span of a night-blooming cerseus. Forever, he’d be rewarded with glory.

And the effect on me?

My daughter is a bright, beautiful, normal child. Today she works well, is a good mother and wife. Like me, not a superstar, not fashion-model pretty. But Alex’s plight made me see mine as richer, more glorious.

And most important: the lesson I took from Alex’s life, brought me a step closer to my own salvation.

When the unthinkable happens, remember, God’s direction will never take you where His grace can’t sustain you.

Have there been Alexes in your life? What have they taught you?

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  1. Sherry, it is heartbreaking to have a wayward child–yet these grandchildren were, indeed, blessed to have the love and care of their grandparents. God can make all things work together for good.

  2. I have close friends who have gone through a horrible time with their daughter and her 2 children. They finally had to get a restraining order against their daughter and get custody of the girls. I wondered how God could allow such a hard life for the girls. Now I see two grown women with a love and sensitivity that grew out of their experiences. God can use even the tragic for His glory.

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