My #1 New Years resolution

I sat in my wheelchair behind the back pew at church. I was desperate. Nearly a year had gone by since the accident and the physical progress I was sure I would have gained by now was nowhere to be seen. I was still paralyzed and the idea that I would not be working my way out of my chair on my own was beginning to creep into my head.

The pastor’s message that day was infiltrated with somewhat familiar healing stories from the Bible; a book I held in no more esteem than a textbook. It sounded nice, especially considering my current condition, but a connection seemed to be missing. I had not fully bought in. A pastor telling me what “God said in the Bible” wasn’t going to cut it anymore. It was time I looked into it for myself.

My voice software assisted the start of my investigation
My voice software assisted the start of my investigation

It started out of desperation. As I began to grasp the fact that I could not heal myself, I figured my best bet would be investigating the biography of the one person I knew of who made a habit of healing the paralyzed: Jesus. Pulling on my inner archaeologist, I would dig into the Bible a bit deeper each day before I would find something else pushing back at me that I either didn’t like, was confused by, or was flat out frustrating. I would wrestle with elements Jesus addresses such as the supernatural realm, the standard for sexuality, the questions of suffering, and the startling realities of heaven and hell.

The deeper I dug, the more resistance I faced; yet I felt I was onto something
The deeper I dug, the more resistance I faced; yet I felt I was onto something

While my initial posture was, “What can you do for me?” Jesus met me right where I was. God used my paralysis and the story of healing the paralytic (click here for the story) to draw me in to his Word. Before long, the Bible was no longer a recipe book to cook up my healing formula. It had become a source of life I could not get enough of, rather than a dusty book on the shelf. The healing itself took a back seat on my priority list and I was now on a journey to encounter the author Himself.

Here are three main themes that got me hooked:

Authoritative: It claims to be written by God (2 Timothy 3:16.) This statement alone did not convince me of its authority, but it sure made me take a closer look. It was either ludicrous or the most powerful piece of literature on the planet. There could be no in-between.

Controversial: In John 14:6 Jesus states, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Statements of boldness such as this do not fly in our politically correct crazed culture. Could there ever have been a more offensive claim? As I was reading, I was drawn to how Jesus would not mince words. He did not leave open the opportunity for me to sit on the fence.

Comforting: Psalm 119:92: “If you Word had not been my delight, I would’ve perished in my affliction.” Each time anxiety builds and I start to worry about what’s ahead, I can sift through the pages of Scripture and just the right words speak to me nearly every time, rooting me back into God’s truth.

piers-morgan

I saw an interview on CNN recently in which Piers Morgan suggested we bring the Bible “kicking and screaming” into the 21st century to be up with the times in our culture. Some may agree with his stance while others classify the book as sheer fairytale. Then there are those who take it as rock solid truth. I have come to find myself in the last camp over time, but what about you?

With each new year I set out certain reading goals. One discipline I have taken up has been reading through the New Testament each year. With an email sent containing just a few minutes a day of reading, I get one more way to hear directly from the living God every day. You can join me on this adventure this coming year: Click here to sign up

I’m no Bible scholar. I’m just a messed up guy who has discovered purpose and meaning unlike anything I’ve ever known while sifting through the words that God has put into text. While I initially took a disciplined approach with a trace of skepticism to examine its validity, now I can’t fathom a day without soaking up even just a few words. Everything begins to slow down. Problems seem to get smaller. Worries dissipate. Peace sets in. Passion for the day ahead reignites. I regain clarity for my vision for the future. I firmly believe you can have a similar experience. God promises that when we seek Him, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). Join me today on this journey for the new year.

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10 thoughts on “My #1 New Years resolution

  1. Ryan, I think it is just wonderful that you have arrived at the conclusion that God is what it is all about and you are only 25, I have arrived at the same conclusion but I have been around for 83 years and just within the last year have come to the same conclusion. I have always believed in God but He was not as present to me as He could be, simply because I didn’t open my door for Him as readily as I should have. Now with our youngest son dying of a brain tumor and my wife, Phyllis, in the Memory Unit at Twin Lakes, it has become so apparent to me that God sent His son, Jesus Christ here with a very simple message, only two words long, LOVE and SERVE, love first then serve all.
    Keep up your messages to those still struggling with their place in God’s world.

    Don Neyer

  2. Hi, Ryan:

    My new year’s resolution is to keep drawing closer to Christ. He is the answer to all, I’m discovering.

    Joy & Light.

    lml ________________________________________

  3. Ryan, I am so inspired by your Blog and your insights. Please keep them coming. We love you and appreciate your faith and commitment. Love, the Hofts (Tom, Mary, Andrew and a whole buncha Hofts)

  4. Hi Ryan,

    I don’t think anyone could have a better New Years resolution! God’s word is so incredible and everytime you’re in it He reveals himself more and more!

    I discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago and there’s no question God has anointed you in a very special way. I love your message, keep it up!

    A 16 year old boy from Texas named Riley Sprowl is currently in the beginning stages of living with a spinal cord injury from a sledding accident about three weeks ago. He is already so stong in his faith and was even telling his mom on the helicopter flight to the hospital not to worry that God will use this. He like you experienced is working to get off the ventilator. He is also a great athlete like you. I just felt led to share his Facebook page with you and perhaps you could reach out to him to encourage him in a way that not many can. Here is the link to his FB page: https://m.facebook.com/pray4riley?__user=501576000

    Blessings,
    Jennifer

    • Jennifer, great to hear you came across Flat On My Back. Thanks for the info about Riley. I will be sure to reach out via his Facebook page. I know the initial time in the hospital can be overwhelming, but please let him know he’s free to contact me whenever the time is right.
      Thanks for your message,
      Ryan

  5. Ryan, who would think that a 25 year old could have such a profound impact on so many, and yet, here you are, week after week, inspiring so many. I am humbled and awed by every post you write. I was going through my email deleting all the ads and spam I don’t want to receive when I came across your blog with the link for daily bible readings. I signed up, feeling very excited. I have read the Bible before, and have several versions, but I am on my I pad daily and this will come right to me. I even signed up for King James Version, as I want to experience the richness of the language. Thank you for all of your incredible strength and inspiration.

  6. Life need not be this nuts. I look forward to following along on this journey with the hope of gaining back some sanity and balance. Thanks for your willingness to include others. Lead on!

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