Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~ James 1:2-4
I adore our family’s healthcare provider. He is smart, kind and compassionate. I don’t just consider him my doctor, I consider him my friend. And, if not for a miracle a few years back, Daniel wouldn’t be around today to be the son, brother, friend and caregiver that so many of us have grown to know and love.
In 2013, Daniel suffered a series of strokes that nearly took his life. He was only 27 at the time and, other than the nasty flu he was battling, was completely healthy. He was the last person you’d expect to have a stroke. Yet, there he was, on a ventilator, clinging to life. Doctors told his family that he might never wake up, and if he did, he’d probably never be able to return to work.
The Lord clearly had different plans for Daniel, because, with time and several months of rehab, his condition completely turned around. Today, he suffers absolutely no side effects from the ordeal.
While Daniel’s physical recovery was nothing short of miraculous, the way he has turned this near tragedy into a tremendous blessing is also amazing. When Daniel was still recovering from his stroke, friends and family rallied around him in many ways, including raising over $10,000 to help him with the medical bills he had amassed.
Feeling incredibly grateful for the restoration of his health and for the love of his community, Daniel decided to pay it forward. So, exactly one year after his stroke, he threw a “stroke-iversary” party. He invited loved ones to join him in celebrating his recovery and he also used the event to raise money for someone else in need. The first event was so successful, he has continued to host a “stroke-iversary” party every year since. So far, he’s raised nearly $15,000 for people in need in our community. And, he has no plans to stop. In fact, he is working on forming a non-profit organization so he can grow the annual event.
We live in a fallen world. Bad stuff, unexpected stuff, unwanted stuff happens to all of us. We’re all going to face things that make our heads spin and our hearts break. We can’t avoid many of the painful things that happen in our lives. But, we can choose how we respond to them. We don’t have to celebrate the bad things that happen to us, but, like Daniel, we can celebrate the fact we survived them. We can be proud of what we learned from them. We can be thankful for the people who loved us through them.
Who’s ready to take life’s lemons and make some lemonade?