Last year Francisco left to play soccer like all the other times, but this time was different. In the middle of an intense play, he suddenly went down. He never got up. He spent several weeks in the hospital and rehab due to a cerebral arteriovenous malformation. Though he survived, his life will never be the same. Instead of having the agility and skill of a soccer player, he has uncoordinated movements, decreased strength, poor vision, and uses a walker to get around. Though he is only twenty-five years old, he is like an elderly man that has had a stroke.
Francisco told our therapy team he really struggled to accept his physical disabilities. Tearfully, he shared his feelings for the first time. “These things don’t happen to young men with big dreams and ambitions. Maybe God has a purpose with me like this and my testimony will touch others in such a way that they will want to seek the Lord even more. I will keep trying until I get better. Whenever that happens, I will go back to my school and talk to my students of God’s power. I have faith. Doctors say I will not get any better, but I want to get well. This is why I come regularly to therapy. Sometimes I feel like I cannot keep going, but I know God has a purpose. This is what keeps me going. I have not disclosed this to anyone because I try to be strong, but I needed to release some of my stress. Thank you for what you all do for me.”
Though we may not be able to completely change Francisco’s physical condition to the level before the soccer match that day, I believe we can help him learn to live with these physical changes unless God chooses to heal him. In the meantime, I believe our patience, concern, compassion and care for him, will continue to open doorways of sharing and healing in his life, as he comes to know the truth of Christ in the middle of these difficult circumstances.