Guest Post by Dr. Jim Childs
Getting Comfortable|THE COMFORT ZONE (John 3:16)
My journey began in 1948 as the third of four children to 2 married parents in a home where we were taught a strong work ethic and moral responsibility, incorporating the principle of The Golden Rule; however, we were not Christians in the Biblical sense of the word. I started formal education at age 6 and for 23 years straight trained for a career. At age 29, I became a medical doctor with a specialty of Pathology (Laboratory Medicine which concentrates on the biochemistry of the body and the use of a microscope to make diagnoses). My wife and I were married in 1971 and had three children in 1975, 1977, and 1979. I began my practice at the Armstrong County Memorial Hospital in 1978 and continued for 29 years. Life was comfortable.
In 1978, our family started attending a Bible-believing church after being invited by a fellow physician and his wife. After six years of intense Bible study and well over 1000 sermons, my life was transformed and I became a Christian, close to Easter of 1984. I found it concerning that growing Christians were expected to suffer, but was convinced that Jesus Christ had confirmed his claims to be God by his teaching, fulfilling prophecies, performing miracles, and most remarkably, being able to predict and pull off his death and resurrection without a hitch. 23 years after I accepted Christ, my life changed drastically just before Easter.
Taking the Fall | HUMBLE PIE (James 1:2-4)
In 2007, I was forced to move out of my comfort zone and take a fall (Proverbs 16:18), literally, of about 50 feet over a hidden embankment in a storm. That accident left me quadriplegic with control of only a few arm and neck muscles. I had five months in the hospital to grasp that I could no longer walk, or ride a bike, or play the piano, all things I loved to do. Oh, and incidentally, I could no longer practice medicine or eat, drink, put on clothes, go to the bathroom or get in and out of bed without the help of a Hoyer lifting device. I would quickly die without helpers by my side seven days a week. As far as physical ability I was very close to having nothing and it was not improving even with months of therapy. I was depressed. Could I count it pure joy, as declared in James chapter 1 of the Bible, over “nothing?”
Rejoicing Over “Nothing”
Well, by God’s grace, I finally did rejoice over “nothing.” Let me explain. First, I have nothing to prove. Though I’ve known mentally that there is no earning God’s favor, I realized that at times I was taking credit for helping God in my own strength. I now appreciate more humbly the absolute truth of Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:4-7 . Secondly, I have nothing to hide. As demonstrated by our ancestral parents of the Adam family, our natural tendency is to hide when we have rebelled against God. Sin affects us that way because God has given us a conscience to remind us to own our fallen behavior and pursue the forgiveness of God ( 1 John 1:9 and Romans 5:8). When the comforts of life are stripped away, one appreciates in a new way the truth that all that is good comes from God.(James 1:17) Thirdly, I have nothing to lose (2Corinthians 5:21 and Romans 8:38-39). There is security for all believers and the promise of a glorified body in heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:50-57). I will not be in a wheelchair for eternity.
A New Mission
Despite my physical limitations, the Lord has continued to be gracious by allowing me to minister in the church, at Grace Christian School (GCS), and with the home care workers who now spend 70 hours a week with me. As Easter approaches I am reminded that I do not deserve God’s grace and mercy. It is my desire to help the schoolchildren follow the lead of Jesus, who never met a person who deserved his favor. Nevertheless, He constantly met the needs of others, including feeding the hungry. With Him as our model, we have the opportunity to partner with, “Outreach,” an organization that prepares nutritious meals and, “The Community Action Agency of Armstrong County,” an organization that distributes these meals through their many food banks in Armstrong County. GCS’s contribution is to buy meals at $.25 apiece, and pack them hygienically in thermal, sealed, airtight bags so they can be distributed to hungry people in our community. Last May, we were able to purchase and pack 10,000 meals for our community, however, they were used up in two months. Our challenge this year is to double our output to 20,000 meals which will help even more hungry people in our community. This will require twice as much money, and twice the number of packers.
How YOU Can Help Us Feed the Hungry
The school children and parents can pack 10,000 meals in 2.5 hours. This is scheduled for 9 to 11:30 AM on Friday, April 22. If you are interested in getting involved, we would appreciate suggestions for people to help pack and also for financial support to help cover the costs of the meals. We package 200 meals per box ($50) and have a goal of 100 boxes. You can view a video from last year’s Pack-a-thon at: http://gracechristiankittanning.com/support-gcs/day-of-giving/.
To the God of Hope and Healer of Diseases with Gratitude,
For Hope and Health,
If you would like to contact Dr. Jim Childes to discuss anything from his story, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.