By Bethany Hall
That Infamous Light at the End of the Tunnel
Everyone has a turning point in their life: the death of a loved one, reaching rock bottom, realizing you’re ruining every relationship you have, etc. Many of these turning points make you into an amazing person—or a better person than you were before. The main similarity is that every turning point is difficult. When your father goes from a very vivacious, outgoing man, to a person in a wheelchair out of nowhere, your entire world becomes a giant “I don’t know.” My father was on a trip trying to serve the Lord when he became paralyzed. As a 16-year-old girl, my anger with God flared to extraordinary heights.
I remember the first time I heard my dad publicly speak about the accident, he said something very interesting: “God doesn’t need me.” Coming from such a Godly man who has worked his entire life to please and spread the work of God, it was strange to hear. Somehow, it made sense. Since my father’s accident, I’ve watched my parents continue with more grace than I could even imagine. It wasn’t until recently that I realized my parents are so graceful because they have faith that God has His hands on my dad. They trust that God will make everything work for the best.
While my parents were gone for seven months in Houston, I did not handle myself with grace. I was lost, angry, and confused. There was a storm over my heart, and I pointed all of the blame at God.
While I was at a writer’s workshop the following summer, I wrote a very angry poem to God asking him where he was and read it out loud at the open mic night. The next day, I asked if He was there, almost as a joke to myself, and I heard, “I am.” My bones chilled for a moment before my anger spiked again. If he has been here, why hasn’t he shown himself like this before? Why had he left me in the dark alone for so long? I had reached out before, but why was this the first time he decided to reach back?
At this point in time, I was told that there was little to no hope of my father walking again. I was getting used to the fact that my life may never be the same again. I tried to find scripture that would calm my soul, but there was a part of me that was comfortable in the chaos. My anxiety has been an issue for a while, so I was used to being constantly worried about people and things. Philippians 4:6 says, “We do not need to be anxious when we can freely talk to God about our needs.” The problem was that I didn’t know what my needs were.
One day, my parents told me about Stem Cell research. They explained that it was a process that would, in essence, give us hope.
Currently, my parents are in Panama, which is in Central America. The week before they left I was overwhelmed with anxiety for their trip there. The morning they left, I simply whispered, “God…” I couldn’t even finish my prayer! Instantly, though, I felt a wave of relief—and then promptly fell back asleep at eight in the morning on a Saturday.
This previous weekend, I attended a dinner hosted and attended by the members of our church, Livingston Fellowship. I knew everyone would ask about my father and if there were any updates. As it turns out, I was correct. At the beginning of this journey, it annoyed me, yet now I see it as a million hands reaching out to touch and lift up my family. One of the church members made the process of informing everyone about my father’s update very easy. She simply asked if I’d mind giving the entire room an update at one time as well as things they could pray for. Before we said grace, I did my best to tell what I knew.
Growing up as a pastor’s kid, my parents would always say, “Remember who you represent.” No pressure, or anything, right? Standing in front of a bunch of people who have supported my family in a giant “I don’t know” journey, I felt no pressure at all because they knew we are just as human as they are.
I sent my mom a picture of the room. My heart reminded me of where I was before God told me He was here with me. I was reminded of the simple beauty my parents showed through the grace of God. The journey has been long and isn’t over yet, but it has already raised me and brought life to a dark soul that was lost.
Bethany Hall is the youngest of six and a pastor’s kid. She is a graduate of Madison Central High School and hopes to be an English teacher one day.