This is the second entry in the UCCDM Lenten Devotional 2016 series. This devotional reflection comes from Mr. JR Jasper. This devotional reflects the views of the author and not the views of UCCDM.
“After these things, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” Genesis 15:1
Whenever, I come across the words, “Be not afraid” or “Fear Not” in scripture, I know that something dramatic has happened or will happen in the next verse or two. Maybe wars will cease, mountains will move, or the sea will part and violent winds will calm Usually God is welcoming someone into a covenant. At the very least, I can always count on an important life lesson.
These never ending lessons are in abundant supply as I live and work through Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia, a group of inherited degenerative disorders. These rare disorders are marked by progressive weakness and severe spasticity. Imagine my fear when I awoke several years ago and was unable to walk or stand for several weeks. I could only crawl. I became very afraid as I envisioned a reality of crawling through the rest of my life. Helplessness was not only my emotion, but it became my shield.
The church folks tried to comfort me by offering payer guides and holy water, but I was having none of it. As I spent time adjusting to my new reality of being an African American man in the rural south who’s primary mode of movement was crawling, I also needed to learn how to become a practitioner of faith, bringing my fears before the alter as my only offering. Eventually I did learn to walk again with the assistance of a brilliant physical therapist and a walker, but I’m still learning as I move through the many insurance claims, denial letters, and reimbursement check. I am learning to be humbled by my own limitations and grateful for the generosity of family and friends. My biggest lesson has been the new found covenant with God that encourages me to be not afraid and fear not. I now look forward to moving through each new day however He sees fit.
Prayer: Lord help me to remember that after these things, our reward shall be great.