INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE
WESTERN HILLS BAPTIST CHURCH
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Suffering and misery.
The foundation question of all suffering is “why?” Why are some people afflicted? As Jesus went along with His
disciples, He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?" Jesus replied; "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, this happened so that the work
of God might be displayed in his life. Jesus is saying to His disciples; “No one can point a finger at another as the
culprit.” All sadness and all sorrow are the indirect result of sin. But often, sadness, sorry and misery can open
the door for ministry. Brian Sternberg was a young kid, 19 years old who stood 6’ 3” and weighed 170lbs. This kid
was fast, very fast and had a gymnast agility. Brian was a pole vaulter in the year 1963. In 1963 Brian was setting
world records in the pole vault and life could not be better for him. He had set three records in the previous track
and field meets setting world marks. The sports world say that Brian had no limit on what he could have done as
an athlete.Then came July 2, 1963 in which Brian’s life changed forever. Brian was preparing for an annual meet, a
meet between the Soviet Union and the USA. Brian was at the University of Washington, Seattle doing what
pole-vaulters often do, working out on the trampoline. But following one particular double flip, he hit the metal
railing and broke his neck. It was a tragedy and a shock to the track and field world when Sternberg was told not
only that he would never vault again, but as well that he would be a quadriplegic for the rest of his life. That day
Brian Sternberg’s life changed forever. A few years after the accident there was an ‘Athletic in Action Conference’
(ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ) for collegian athletes in which Brian attended. During this conference,
Brian was wheeled out in a wheel chair and began to share with this group of young athletes how he had been a
nominal, lukewarm Christian for a number of years. Then came the tragedy said Brian and; “As I was in the
hospital flat on my back, hearing I would never run, never walk, never even lift my hands again, God started to do
a work in my life and gave me a peace I cannot explain. Jesus became so incredibly real to me at that time and has
been real to me since then in a way I could never comprehend or explain.” Then, with tears rolling down his
cheeks, this world-class athlete said; “If that was the only way I could have what I have right now in my heart, I
would take that jump all over again.” After that, Brian extended an invitation to make a real commitment to Jesus
Christ, virtually the entire audience came forward. Revival happened that day unlike anything seen before or
since.