Never give up!

It was a proud moment, that June 2005. He stood there in cap and gown, graduating with honours plus several scholarships.

Just 10 months before, Josh had developed a large blood clot in the primary vein of his brain. A hurried ride to Kelowna Hospital, the discovery of the clot, a sudden grand mal seizure – all suggested a far less wonderful future.

Josh survived, but he suffered and struggled a great deal. After a few weeks of summer recovery, it was suggested he try just an art course to begin his Grade 12 year. He had lost 30 pounds, was weak and unsteady on his feet, and found it difficult to read or concentrate for more than a few minutes.

He took some art, but insisted on his full academic load. He advanced by sentences and inches, but he advanced. It was painful to watch him struggle.

Our son had been told that a third of the people with his condition died during the trauma he had passed through, another third faced permanent disabilities, and a third were restored to their former health. He was also told that it was unlikely the clot would ever dissolve; it would be a permanent reality, not life threatening, but closed off. Other veins would form around it, compensating for its loss.

Six months after this prediction, Josh had a brain scan. The clot was completely gone.

One of Josh’s yearbook quotes was “Never give up.” A companion to his tenacity was his faith, and the faith of those around him. Many people prayed for him, including friends, family, churches locally and across B.C., and believers in other parts of Canada.

Anyone out there with a deep burden today, or facing a supreme challenge, this may be for you. If you are in a place where you have tied a knot at the end of your emotional rope and are just hanging on, please don’t give up. Pray to Jesus Christ to strengthen you. Allow others the privilege of praying with and for you.

Jesus himself taught us to pray and never give up (Luke 18:1). Great doors of hope can open on small hinges of faith when we turn what is impossible, for us, over to God.

Jeff and Marilyn Zak are church planters at H.O.P.E. Community Church, Nelson, B.C. In May, Josh graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a BA in multimedia.

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