Steve Hearts has been blind since birth. He is a writer, musician, and member of the Family International in North America.
One fact of life that can be difficult to accept is that in order for us to fully embrace the future, we must leave behind not only the distant past, but even the recent past. This can be especially hard in times of major transition, such as moving on from a relationship, or changing from one job or house to another.
I recently reflected on how my perspective on miracles has evolved throughout my life. Although I’ve had faith in Jesus since childhood, I often compared myself with those who’d witnessed healings and other dramatic miracles—thinking I’d missed out. I then came across an eye-opening definition of the word miracle: “An event that is contrary to the established laws of nature and attributed to a supernatural cause.”1 This caused me to reflect further on my past, and I realized that I’ve lived through several events that perfectly fit this definition. Starting with the very beginning.
One of my favorite forms of exercise is weightlifting. I’m no bodybuilder; I just do it to stay toned and keep in shape. I also find it interesting how akin weightlifting can be to our spiritual growth.
In our “spiritual weightlifting,” we have a truly awesome trainer. In Matthew 11:29, Jesus tells us, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.” To me, the “yoke” is symbolic of anything that strengthens and exercises our faith and Christian walk. Jesus goes on to promise right after that, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”1
This earth life is commonly seen as one big highway, winding its way through plains, hills, mountains, valleys, and tunnels. I’ve encountered all of the above plenty of times, and I can confidently say that I like the tunnels least of all.
Those are the moments where the future is uncertain and the road ahead can only be known one step at a time. My situation over the past few months has involved a lot of waiting to see how things would turn out and a lot of cautious step-by-step moves.
Giving is easier to talk about than to do. This is especially true when it involves sacrifice. On the other hand, the Bible shows that God greatly honors this kind of giving.
“Jesus sat down at the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’”1
It’s one thing to dream of reaching a goal or accomplishing something. This is an important first step. For some, it may be the pursuit of a new endeavor. For others, it could be acquiring a new skill. For yet others, it might be making changes in habit or lifestyle. Whatever the case, effort, perseverance, and often sacrifice are required in order for our dreams to become reality. Once we realize this, it’s up to us as individuals to decide how determined we are to reach our goal, whatever it may be, and how much we’re willing to give of ourselves in order to see our dreams fulfilled. This is where the importance of motivation comes in.
In the tempestuous, stormy moments of our lives, we often focus so intently on finding a way of escape or rescue that we altogether forget about the most reliable and true source of shelter and refuge.
Last night, sleep seemed to totally elude me. I had been facing a low moment of discouragement, doubt, and frustration. I was restless in both mind and body. It was all I could do to prevent my thoughts from going places they ought not to go.
The Christmas season—undoubtedly my favorite season of the year—holds many unforgettable memories. It was on a snowy December day when I was six years old that our family flew home to the U.S. from the Philippines, where we had been missionaries for the previous several years. This was the first time I met my grandparents and the first time I experienced snow. When I was 15, I spent the Christmas season playing percussion in a band that had come to Mexico from Washington D.C. to hold benefit concerts. I had a blast.
Some time ago, I found myself facing a situation that was beyond my ability to resolve. Alone in the stillness of the night, I racked my brain for a solution and finally sent up a prayer for direction.
As I lay on my bed, waiting to hear an answer, there was only silence. My patience started to wear thin, and just as I was about to get up for a glass of water, the still small voice spoke: Are you sure you are being totally quiet and still?
Life is full of challenges of many kinds. For some, the most monumental ones present themselves a good ways down the road. In my case, life’s main challenge made itself known shortly after I was born and remains with me to this day. I am blind.
Doctors were never able to determine the exact cause for my blindness, and could do nothing to remedy it, but the impact of this disability was especially painful during childhood. One occasion stands out. I was seven. My family would read to me from the Bible, and I was accustomed to sometimes holding the book in my hands. Then my parents ordered a Braille Bible. Rather than a single volume, my fingers now touched a pile of 18 huge volumes. What’s more, each page had line after line of dots across it. I couldn’t comprehend how these seemingly meaningless dots could in any way be associated with the verses I listened to as my parents read to me from their Bible.