“I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”—Philippians 3:13, 14 (NKJV).
I recently watched a video of a news story about Micah McDade, who graduated from high school on May 20. What made this story exceptional was that this young man, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth and confined to a wheelchair, was able to walk across the stage at his graduation to accept his diploma.
The fact is that McDade was never expected to walk. However, through sheer determination, he worked secretly to achieve his goal of walking across the stage at his graduation. And, on graduation day, when it was his turn to go on stage, those attending him pushed his wheelchair to the top of the platform, then he pushed himself out of the wheelchair with assistance, and used a walker to walk across the stage.
This totally unexpected action on McDade’s part caused the crowd to erupt in applause and cheer him on. Imagine the joy and excitement of his parents as they stood in the crowd and watched him walk across the stage.
The diagnosis he was given at birth left no hope that he would ever walk. He was expected to spend the rest of his life confined to a wheelchair. However, he defied the odds, worked hard at reaching his goal, and he did the unthinkable—he walked. What a story of encouragement and determination!
So, what’s your story? What challenge is plaguing you to the point where you are believing there is no hope? What setback in your life has made you think that you are doomed and stuck where you are? You are likely in the company of many others with similar stories of things that are holding them back and rendering them unable to move forward.
What is reassuring to me in God’s Word is the experience of Joshua. He was faced with the daunting task of conquering the land of Canaan with the Israelites when he became their leader after the death of Moses, who had led them through the wilderness for 40 years. God assured Joshua of His continuous presence with these words: “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”—Joshua 1:9, NKJV.
McDade’s graduation ceremony was the time for him to celebrate his accomplishment by defying the odds and walking, if just for a moment. Who knows whether this was just the beginning of a new experience for him? What we do know is that he held on to the hope of being able to walk, and when the time came, he did.
Hope is the foundation upon which achievement is built. So, when you are facing a challenge and you can’t see your way through it, or out of it, remember that God has promised His presence and power. Don’t let the challenge, whatever it is, be the end of your story. Be determined to defy the odds. Go forward with hope and courage knowing that God has promised to see you through and to be with you wherever you go.
Ednor A. P. Davison is the editor of the Atlantic Union Gleaner and assistant to the president for communication in the Atlantic Union Conference.