The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. Job 1:21
Christopher Reeve was an American actor, writer and director. He was best known for playing DC comic book superhero Superman, beginning with the acclaimed Superman (1978), for which he won a BAFTA Award. He was a talented all-around athlete and also a licensed pilot who flew solo across the Atlantic twice.
But on May 27 1995, Reeve’s life changed drastically. During an equestrian competition in Culpeper, Virginia, Reeve’s horse made a refusal. Witnesses said that the horse began the third fence jump and suddenly stopped. Reeve fell forward off the horse, holding on to the reins. His hands somehow became tangled in the reins, and the bridle and bit were pulled off the horse. He landed head first on the far side of the fence, shattering his first and second vertebrae. This cervical spinal injury, which paralyzed him from the neck down, also halted his breathing. Paramedics arrived three minutes later and immediately took measures to get air into his lungs. He was taken first to the local hospital, before being flown by helicopter to the University of Virginia Medical Center.
After considering his situation, believing that not only would he never walk again, but that he might never move a body part again, Reeve considered suicide.
He mouthed to Dana, his wife, “Maybe we should let me go.”
She tearfully mouthed back, “I am only going to say this once: I will support whatever you want to do because this is your life, and your decision. But I want you to know that I’ll be with you for the long haul, no matter what. You’re still you. And I love you.”
I’m always amazed by his wife’s deep love for him that she never gave up on her now disabled husband.
Reeve spend the remaining part of his life in a wheelchair and portrayed a lot of hope that he would one day walk again. His faith was so strong that he allotted approximately $100 million into research on spinal injury cure.
The story of Reeve reminds me of Job who lost all his wealth and his children overnight. Despite the harrowing news, he at first looked to God in hope and praised Him for being the source of everything. He acknowledged God’s sovereign hand even in times of calamity (Job 1:21). We marvel at his strong faith, but Job also struggled with despair. After he lost his health too (2:7), he cursed the day he was born (3:1). He was honest with his friends and God about his pain. Eventually, however, he came to accept that both good and bad come from God’s hand (13:15; 19:25–27).
In our sufferings, we too may find ourselves vacillating between despair and hope, doubt and faith. God doesn’t require us to be dauntless in the face of adversity but instead invites us to come to Him with our questions. Though our faith may fail at times, we can trust God to always be faithful.