by Larry Magnuson


I was sitting alone early one morning feeling sorry for myself. I was in the middle of an attack of my neurological disorder and had lost much of the use of my right side – leg and hand. I looked like I had had a stroke, dragging my foot when I walked, with little balance. It had been six years since my last attack and I had convinced myself I would not have any more. I kept looking at my right hand which I could barely use and hardly feel. Would I ever get it’s use back?

My phone buzzed signaling a text. It was an alumni and friend who sends out a verse of Scripture each morning to a group of people and had recently asked if I would like to receive them. I said, “Sure.” At that point all was going relatively well for me. But this morning I really didn’t feel like receiving a verse of Scripture. After all, look at my useless right hand. But in the end, I opened the text:

Isaiah 41:13
“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you,
do not fear; I am with you.”

Lots and lots of tears followed. 
It became a sweet time with my Jesus.

I had been so focused on my weakness, my future, my crippled right hand that I had lost sight of the one who held my hand. God met me right where I was and reached out and took hold of me . . . and my hand.

Life is full of wonderful, joyful moments. But there are also times when the rug gets pulled out and we experience pain, fear, and an uncertain future. I think of a wonderful ministry partner who recently lost his dear wife . . . or an alumni couple facing stage four cancer. We’ve all been there . . . or we are there . . . or we will be there. Questions flood our hearts and minds. Why? Now what? How can this be?

If in those times we come honestly – simply – quietly – don’t be surprised to have the God of the universe meet you right where you are and somehow share the exact words you need to hear. It happens over and over again during our retreats. Couples and individuals meet Jesus in a fresh, new, personal way . . . right in the midst of their crisis.

I am slowly improving though the future is still uncertain, but I am more at peace, more thankful for so many blessings that come even in the hardest of times. And in it all I keep reminding myself . . .

I don’t have to be afraid, He is with me and is holding me by my (damaged) right hand!