We don’t know what we will face this year nor what life will bring us five years from now.
Last night I went to a friend’s house to watch a football game on television. The host was a former Los Angeles County sheriff — so you know he has experienced a lot in his life. He is also a faithful follower of Jesus. Five years ago, he was one of the brothers at a men’s retreat I was a part of in the mountains.
When I went into the room, he was sitting in his chair smiling. I went over to greet him, and he extended his left hand only. All night he sat in that chair. His son came over and fed him his dinner with a fork. Every 60 minutes two of the ten men in the room went over and helped him stand up.
Their goal was to help him walk across to the kitchen and back. It was a distance of 10 meters total. Slowly and with great difficulty he did it. At the end he smiled, and everyone cheered, and they put a cookie in his mouth. Then he sat down again.
This brother was diagnosed with ALS last year 肌萎缩性侧索硬化症（ALS). It is a type of motor neuron disease characterized by progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. He will eventually lose the ability to talk and even to move.
But there he was — smiling, laughing and enjoying the evening with us. His wife had prepared a meal for all of us 10 Christian brothers and she was glad we were there to be with him.
Life is not easy, and for some it is full of suffering experiences. We do not know what this year will bring. But if a moment, a day, or weeks of difficulty enters your life please remember that God is with you. And think about how you, as a man, will respond.
Today I read this quote and it helped change my perspective about my friend’s situation: “In the darkest moments of our pain, God is hiding his weapons behind enemy lines.”
This is one of our tests as real men and disciples of Jesus — how will we respond in times of darkness? A real man is one who is mature in Christ — this includes being mature during times of difficulties.
A real man trusts that behind all the difficulties God is in fact doing a secret and victorious work. In the end the battle will be won and if we are trusting in God we will also share in that victory — so we need not lose hope.
Last night I watched a real man right in front of my eyes carrying a special kind of hope — declaring to those around him that there is more to his story.
He also showed us that a real man shares his life with others during times of suffering — and leans on them for encouragement and help. He does not try to survive alone. Even as he was walking across a room — he gladly did it with the help of brothers.
We are all better men because of his life and testimony to the faithful goodness of God.