Paul’s Story

 

by Paul Wiersma


“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

-Romans 8:28


After reading a verse like Romans 8:28, it can be easy to jump to the conclusion that, “Great! I’m going to be rich, popular, healthy, successful, have a great job, etc. and life is going to be fantastic!”

Part of this is true if you equate life going well to the process of continually being shaped into the likeness of God’s son, Jesus. However, not very often does this process transpire through things being easy. What if the “good” that is being talked about is accomplished through the refinement of suffering and hardship?  Do our trials come as a surprise to God, or has he ordained them to accomplish the ultimate “good”—becoming more shaped and conformed in the image of Jesus Christ?

On February 29, 1992 I attended my cousin’s basketball game in Holland, MI with my grandparents. Like most three year-olds, I was more interested in exploring than I was in watching the game, so my cousin and I ventured under the bleachers to climb on them. Life for me changed in an instant as I slipped through the bleachers and fell 15 feet, thereafter suffering a closed head injury. Until the paramedics could arrive, I was tended to by an off-duty physician who happened to be at the game. Once the paramedics arrived, I was taken to Holland Hospital where I was immediately flown via Aero Med to Butterworth Hospital. Having a grand mal seizure in the helicopter and several more once I had arrived to meet my fear-struck parents in the pediatric ICU, I was immediately put on external life support.

In the moment of my accident, was God really working for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose? If you would have asked my parents when they got the phone call informing them of what had happened, that was the furthest thought from their minds. “God, how could you let something like this happen to our three year-old son?”

My family continued to question God as I battled epilepsy until the age of 18. I would have anywhere from three to four petit mal seizures a day. Needless to say, school was always significantly harder for me growing up. Socially, I was misunderstood by many of my peers. Athletically, I wasn’t as gifted as those around me and made few of the sports teams I tried out for. Meanwhile, having a mother who is a registered nurse, we moved forward in hopes of finding a solution to the daily seizures. Continuous failures in medications and treatments frustrated my family to the point of near desperation. It was only when we surrendered our own initiatives for healing to God’s perfect love and provision for us when we were presented with the possibility of brain surgery.

The surgery included the resection of a scarred lesion of brain tissue resulting from the fall 15 years’ prior, determined to be the catalyst for my epilepsy. The doctors confidently presented the option of surgery to us and after much prayer, we took a step of faith to have the operation done on September 26, 2006.

I had my last seizure that day. My family and I are so thankful for God’s deliverance from an unyielding struggle.

Now, let’s get back to the portion of scripture I referenced earlier that talks about God working for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. The initial head trauma, the hospital stays, the daily seizures, the difficult school years, the brain surgery; if these are looked at through the lens of “good”—meaning a catalyst for God working in my life to refine me to be more like his Son—then yes, they were very good! I can’t say I would wish my experience on anyone, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything either because of how it has fortified my relationship with the Lord.

For the past two years I’ve served at David’s House Ministries as the Associate Director of Development. I’m tasked with the responsibility of raising the funds to care for residents I very well could have been one of. Not only is it a real joy to serve our residents with this as my perspective, but the way the Lord has continued to refine me through the process of procuring resources for the ministry has been a true privilege as well.


 

Paul Wiersma is the Associate Director of Development at David’s House Ministries.

Read more about Paul here.


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4 Comments

  • Paul: What a powerful testimony! I never knew about your accident until reading this. This ministry is blessed to have you. I always enjoyed having you on the tennis team–you were such a genuinely kind and thoughtful young man and I always appreciated that I could see that I always got your very best effort. I can tell from reading this that you maintain a great spirit and attitude in your life! I’ve been blessed reading this today. Thank you Paul! Coach Erin Fouty

    • Thank you Erin for your kind words. It’s amazing to be able to look back on those years of struggle now and see how God’s hand was intimately at work in it all to bring about His purposes and my good! …All the way to this point in time where He has opened the door to serve men and women with special needs.

  • Hi Paul: I too remember hearing about your accident shortly after it happened. Your family had many years of striving thereafter, striving to remain hopeful and striving to trust in God. Nothing makes a parent more teary eyed than when a son or daughter “gets it”. You’ve proved with your testimony that you’ve figured it out…probably producing a teary eye, once again, for mom and dad. Sports, grades, earthly relationships take a back seat to the work that God was and is accomplishing in your life. When we lived in the country and had a broad field to the West of our home, we saw many spectacular sunsets. I always noted, the best of the best in sunsets were those that had just a few clouds, graying all the more as the sun went down. It was the clouds, I reasoned, that made one appreciate the light of the sun. Their contrast is really what gave the whole of the panorama the contrast and thereby the beauty. Well done! Say “Hi” to mom and dad for us 🙂

  • Paul,
    I never put your story together when we met a few weeks ago. As I read your story above, I remembered your accident. Amazing how our paths have crossed so many years later.
    So thankful for your recovery and your commitment to David’s house!

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