When I was a young man, I was determined to get a car. I had spent my summer working in the Flathead Wilderness (now the Bob Marshal). I had spent the summer isolated, so my money came as a lump sum at the end of the season. I was determined to have a car. There was a problem. Even though I had the money, I had no line of credit; thus, I needed a co-signer. I sought my dad out. I will never forget that encounter as I sought to convince my dad that I could do this. There was a long pause as he contemplated this offer. I was not sure at all that he would do this for his son. Eventually, he got his pen out, and using a step as a writing table, he signed! I will never forget that moment, and I wish my dad were still here so I could thank him. I drove that car all through college, back and forth to Minneapolis, and drove it until I got married.

Was I determined or stubborn? To be stubborn means to refuse to change your opinion. To be determined means to have resolved to make something happen. Perhaps in living life, we need both of these qualities in working through various issues.

While I was pastoring in the Midwest, a new family began attending the church. They had several younger children. I have stayed in contact with this family over the year, and they have earned my deep respect. One of their boys was named “Bill” (not his real name). Bill is now an adult and is raising his own family. He was employed at the local hospital. One evening after work, he took two of his children for a short ride on his motorcycle. One in front of him and one behind him. It was just a short ride around the block. Bill saw in the distance a deer on the shoulder of the road and slowed to allow the deer to pass over the road. Bill resumed his speed, but the deer decided to come back to where it had started. The deer was hit. The children were not hurt other than skinned legs, but Bill, in the process of falling, hit his head on the pavement. The result was a severe concussion.

Bill suffered a severe brain injury. He was not expected to live, and if he did live, he would suffer permanent handicaps. He was hospitalized, placed in nursing homes and in group homes. But Bill was determined.

Just recently, I received an email from him. I have received his and his family’s permission to include it here.

“In the beginning of May, I decided to take my recovery to a new level. I went to the division of motor vehicles and asked what I needed to do to get my license back. I was told that I would have to have a neurologist indicate that I was cognitive enough to drive. I made the appointment and was told by her that I was cognitive enough to drive, but I needed to take both the written and behind-the-wheel test, since I had not driven for four years. I downloaded the motor handbook and read it through. On May the 18th, I took the written test. I aced the driving test. I now have my driver’s license.

During my time with the neurologist, I also asked what I would need to do to become independent. I was told that I would need to have a very lengthy appointment with a neuropsychologist. While waiting to get that scheduled, I talked to an attorney and a social worker. Finally, I had my appointment with the neurologist, who indicated that I was competent enough to become independent. And could manage my own life. The neuropsychologist sent a report to everyone mentioned above. I had four professionals thoroughly impressed with my recovery and that I had reached a point where I deserved to be independent.

Yesterday, June 28th, I had a hearing in front of a judge where a decision was made that I regained my independence.

During my successful journey through seemingly impossible trials, my story can be used as an example of what is possible.

Thank you for all of your prayers. I am a living example of all your prayers.”

Determination can deeply determine where life will take you.

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