Stunned, I stood there in utter shock. As I stared at the letter, I thought for sure this was perhaps a bad joke, at best; or merely a mistake, at worst. Numbness enthralled me as my mind struggled to grasp the full implication of what my emotions were feeling in that moment: How will this change my life?
Have you ever held something in your hand that you knew would instantly alter the trajectory of your life?
Seventeen years ago today I held a letter in my hand that changed everything. It meant drastic changes were going to transpire without any warning. It would affect my professional career; my ability to do things that I once did seamlessly; and many other unforeseeable outcomes. It was a change that was forced upon me without my consent. And moving forward, it would severely limit choices available to me.
As I stood there, I reflected upon the oddity of the situation. My wife and I had just returned from a vacation at the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I drove the entire way home, roughly a four-and-a-half hour trip. The letter in my hand—courtesy of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)—informed me that due to a failed eye examination two months prior, my driver license was revoked, effective June 1, 2004.
The day I read it was June 4, 2004. Never again would I be permitted to drive.
It was tough to swallow. All I could digest in that moment was the surreal fact that my life would never be the same again. That was clear as day, but it was extremely hard to stomach.
I reminisced on a distant memory from childhood. Often my parents would force me to swallow the nasty pink Pepto-Bismol whenever I was sick. For a while I put up a fight, but eventually they won. I stubbornly relented. Though I did not like it one bit, I surrendered.
The yucky stuff was necessary to recover.
Likewise, I had to acknowledge the reality of the moment. I didn’t have to like it. I didn’t have to agree with it. I didn’t even have to answer the question, “Why me?” But I had to acknowledge that it was out of my control; and that I could only control the choices that were available to me in that moment. The first choice in that moment was to surrender this to the Lord. Then proceed. Even if the limited choices at hand were extremely distasteful. Little steps in the hands of God can go a long ways even with limited choices at one’s disposal.
I could not waste time fighting against this abrupt change of a revoked license; rather, I had to preserve my energies to fight to become the man whom God had called me to become even in the midst of the adversity at hand.
We all have choices. We all have adversity. The choices we make in the throes of adversity is what makes all the difference in our lives.
Seventeen years later, my heart marvels at the goodness of God. Those of us diagnosed with Usher Syndrome, a blind-deaf genetic disorder certainly understand what it means to go through the “valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23:4) as we grope through life with severe limitations. However, we all have adversity in life.
Perhaps you are going through a difficult stretch of life where the lurking shadows haunt you incessantly with fear. Though your eyes may be perfectly fine, possibly you find yourself unable to see even what steps to take amidst the taunt of stress and anxieties. However, dark it may be, I want to point you to the promise of Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd is there with you in your darkest hour.
Will you surrender your life to the Lord Jesus Christ today? Will you allow the Good Shepherd to comfort you with his rod and staff? Determine right now to make a decision to keep the eyes of your heart fixated upon the One who looms larger than any shadow of death as you walk through the valley following the Good Shepherd.