Unshakable Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

The Man In The Mirror

Can you imagine going a whole month without seeing yourself in a mirror?

If you’re a follower of my blog, you know that I’ve had ALS for almost 21 years, and that I’m totally paralyzed and home-bound. In addition to an excellent nurse visiting me once a month to confirm that I’m still alive, a very nice lady also comes to our home once a month to cut my hair. She came the other day to cut my hair so Mary maneuvered my wheelchair into the bathroom in front of the dreaded mirror (mirrors don’t lie). “Who is that guy with gray hair and big bags under his eyes?” I asked myself.

You see, unless I ask Mary or my caregiver to place me in front of the mirror, which, for obvious reasons, I rarely do, haircut time is the only time I have to face this 56 year old man in a wheelchair (a really disturbing experience).

In some ways, my journey with ALS almost seems like a bad dream, a really long bad dream, even more so when I don’t see myself in the mirror for long periods of time.

Except for the constant reminders of the wheelchair I’m sitting on and the eye-tracking (Look Ma, no hands) computer I’m using, I could close my eyes and almost imagine that I am still the healthy 36 year old man that I was before being diagnosed with this stinkin’ disease.

Then I look in the mirror…

“…we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Can you imagine someone picking out the clothes you wear every day – for 20 years? On occasion, when we’re having company, Mary will bring out three shirts and ask me which one I’d like to wear. But, other than those rare occasions, Mary or Sharlene, my caregiver and good friend for the last ten years, pick out the clothes I’m going to wear without any input from me.

As I was writing this post, I thought about an old black & white movie I’ve seen, titled “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” It’s about a narcissistic man, Dorian Gray, that, while examining his just-completed portrait, basically makes a pact with the devil that his physical appearance would remain just as it is in the portrait.

Over the period of several years, all of his friends age naturally, but Dorians appearance remains the same as it was the day that he collaborated with evil. However, his now-hidden portrait reflects his soul, and this portrait becomes more hideous with every evil act he commits.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037988/

If there was such a thing as a mirror that reflected our soul, what would your reflection look like? (I have probably asked myself this question a thousand times since making a commitment to follow Christ some 35 years ago).

When looking into a mirror, we can see our physical imperfections, but for those who call themselves Christians, the Bible is the mirror of our soul. If we’re open to making changes to our spiritual imperfections (if we have “eyes to see and ears to hear”) the Bible will transform us.

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”(James1:22-25)

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Are you being transformed by the Mirror of your Soul?

If not, I hope and pray you’ll begin doing so today.

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117 thoughts on “The Man In The Mirror

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  1. Theresa Schrock on said:

    Bill,
    Gosh, I so enjoy reading Unshakeable Hope. There is not anything I love more than God’s Word. I’m so blessed to read such a deeper meaning of His Word through your faith and insight. WOW! How rich Christ Word dwells in your heart. I wonder will we ever truly experience the depth of His Word this side of heaven. Probably not but what an amazing and awesome pursuit! You and Mary are extraordinary people and you both are so easy to love. Thank you for sharing your heart with us!
    Theresa

    • Thank you for your encouraging comments, Theresa. I don’t think we will discover the depth of His word this side of heaven, but, you’re right, it’s all about the pursuit.
      I am so glad that we are getting to know Don and you.

  2. You inspire me as always as your continual living testimony leaves me in awe. You are gracious enough to share yourself and your story not only glorifying God but also urging the rest of us to take a look inward, not just outward. Thank you as always for giving me a bit of clarity or something substantial to ponder. Now, I’m going to try and find that movie! I love old movies 🙂 Much peace and love to you!

    • Thank you for your kind message, Lilka. Since becoming disabled, I have become a big fan of old movies. What they lack in special effects and vibrant colors, they make up for in great plots and creativity. And, no gratuitous sex, violence and profanity.
      Now that you are retired, maybe you have more time to watch old movies 🙂 I looked on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and found that The Picture of Dorian Gray will be on two weeks from today (9/30) at 2:00 PM (ET). If you have a DVR, record it.

      • I’ll be looking forward to it! I enjoyed a movie on TCM just a bit ago with Charleston Heston (before he was Ben Herr BIG).
        My husband enjoys the old ones as well. These movies actually are usually well written with great scores I enjoy them a lot. I could never do blood and the sex and profanity increasingly have me hitting the off button. Maybe I’m getting old but I just can’t take it anymore! 🙂
        One of the first stations I watched back in the seventies when we “got cable” was the TBS Super Station and they showed old black and white movies all the time. I was so glad to have more than 3 channels I got hooked! I won’t have to record The Picture of Dorian Gray, I’ll be able to sit down with popcorn and watch since both boys will be off at college.
        I forgot to mention I love the photo with you and your “girls.” They are quite beautiful young ladies and I know you must be proud of them.
        Always a pleasure to “see” you. Keep doing what you do, I doubt you have any idea how much of a testimony your life is to everyone who meets you, virtual or otherwise. 🙂

      • Thank you, Lilka. We are very proud of our girls. I am so glad that I was still here to see them graduate high school and college, and to see Lauren, the older one, get married. I was also here to see my two grandchildren and another granddaughter arriving in October 🙂
        I remember when they showed old movies on TBS. I am so glad that Ted Turner started TBS, TCM and AMC because, with the exception of Discovery and The History Channel, most stations are garbage.
        I bet you’re enjoying being retired and having an empty nest. We had an empty nest for about a year until my mother-in-law moved in with us. But she’s a big help around the house 🙂

      • So glad you were able to enjoy those milestones! And congratulations on the impending arrival! 🙂
        My tv is usually stuck on HGTV but there are only so many episodes of House of Hunters and Property Brothers I can tolerate in a day! 🙂

      • Yes, I forgot about HGTV, we watch that also.

  3. As always your post is very inspiring Bill. Thank you for persistently making the choice to invest your time and energy on what you do have rather than on what you don’t have. As I type this I hear the passage from Deuteronomy 30:19-20 …. YOU, Bill, are a living testimony to this word “I call the heavens and the earth to witness about you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live, by loving Adonai your God, listening to His voice, and clinging to Him. For He is your life and the length of your days,”.

    • Thank you the encouraging words. It’s ironic that you mention “investing my time” because I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately – there aren’t enough hours in the day for everything I want to do.

  4. Excellent post, Bill. The Picture of Dorian Gray is the perfect illustration of what happens if we’re getting older but not better. I’m grateful Jesus began and completes the good work in us so we don’t have to get unduly upset about our aging reflection. I’m also 56. I’m also surprised how fast time has flown.
    Blessings to you & Mary ~ Wendy

    • Thank you, Wendy. Age and/or trials definitely change us for the good or bad. After being diagnosed, while going through the stages of grief, I remember coming to a series of crossroads where I had to make a decision to move towards God or further grief and misery – I can’t speak for others, but for me it was a conscious choice. I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit urged me to move closer to God.
      You don’t look 56, Wendy. When is your birthday?

      • I was born March 12. I’ve got the gray hair and forgiving skin like my dad had. But my achy joints remind me I’m heading up yonder sooner and not too much later. 🙂 Crossroads come in all sorts of ways–don’t they? I’m glad you didn’t stay in the grief stage too long, Bill, because your blog is always a blessing to read.

      • I’ll turn 57 in October. Another birthday, that’s all. We won’t have birthdays in heaven, no getting older because time itself will be done away with. No more health problems, no more grieving. It’s a really great deal, this accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior – I don’t know why more people don’t take God up on it. Too bad, so sad.
        Thanks for being a faithful follower of my blog and a friend, Wendy.

  5. GOD BLESS You Brother in Christ Jesus-Yeshua!! I will Pray fore You!! “Pray Without Ceasing.” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV )!!

    Love ❤ Always and Shalom, YSIC \o/

    Kristi Ann

  6. Getting there, Bill. And reminders and prods along the way from caring friends and pilgrims like you, help immensely. Don’t know if I’ll ever meet you in person in this life, but I look forward to hanging out with you on the other side!

  7. It was what I needed to hear today. I haven’t seen a blog from you for some time. I haven’t taken time to do a blog of my own and I need to let somethings go undone so I can complete and continue my story. Yes, looking in a mirror can be a challenge as we do not stay the same and some times I don’t even think I look like myself anymore. I never look in a full length mirror or watch myself walk with my cane and significant limp to the left due to polio. I never care what shoes I can wear because I am so limited on what I can wear that it just doesn’t matter as long as I can continue to walk. Thanks so much for your message to me this morning. God bless you in your continued journey. You daughters are beautiful.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Linda. I know what you mean about full-length mirrors 🙂 up until a few years ago, we had a full-length mirror directory across from where I park my wheelchair every night, I hated going to bed with that image on my mind.
      Thank you for agreeing with my opinion on my daughters – like their mom, they’re beautiful inside and out.

  8. Bill, you undo me man. I confess I’ve at times gotten pretty discouraged by the impact of ALS on my body (i know I’m a little self concious). Im so glad there is a mirror that reflects that part of us that is transformed from glory to glory as we meditate and grow on His word. Im learning so much from you. thanks mate. Love and prayers to you.

    • Thank you, Phil. I too fight discouragement, mate. But the Holy Spirit provides just enough encouragement for me to begin the arduous process of getting out of bed, getting dressed and on my computer one more day: only enough drive for that day – I don’t entertain thoughts about the future. His grace, like Manna in the wilderness, has a 24 hour expiration date 🙂 “His mercy is new every morning.”

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