Every time I watch a movie, read a story or see something about Dick and Rick Hoyt, I usually end up wiping tears from eyes. Over 950 times, Dick has pushed his son Ricky in a wheel chair or pedaled him on a bike or pulled him in a canoe across race finish lines all over the U.S. Every time I think of this duo, I am reminded of what the power of a father’s love can do.
Rick Hoyt is severely disabled. And when doctors told the family to just “put him away” because he would never be more than a vegetable, the Hoyt family decided to take him home and prove doctors wrong. Take ten minutes to watch this special piece on Team Hoyt as they tell their amazing story:
My favorite part of the video is when Dick says, “He’s competing. I just give him my arms and legs, but he’s competing.” I am so moved by that father’s love and I am so reminded of the love of my own Heavenly Father in the same way.
I’ve often heard people use the phrase, “we are the hands and feet of Jesus” — and in one sense it is very true. We represent Jesus in this world, and the way we walk and serve will be the best (or sometimes worst) representation of Jesus some people will ever see.
But in another very real sense, we are all like Ricky Hoyt. “Powerless” on our own, but with God as our hands and feet, we are able to compete in this life. With His help we are able to put aside our own selfish ambition and vain conceit, we are able to serve others as we have been served, we are able to love as God loved and we are able to run our race. We aren’t gods; we are God’s.
At the end of his life, the Apostle Paul told Timothy, “I have the run the race” and he was ready to receive his reward. How did Paul run? He ran as man pushed by God. He didn’t run on his own strength, He ran with God’s! In 2 Corinthians 11:23-29, Paul lists out the trials he worked through in his life while serving God. Then, in chapter 12, he discusses a “thorn in flesh” — some sort of extreme suffering that kept him dependent on God. And at the end of this recounting of all of his hardships Paul says this: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Paul was just admitting that he was like Ricky Hoyt. No mistaking it — Paul was competing. But he was competing with the power of God’s arms and God’s legs, so that using God’s strength, God would be glorified in Paul’s life.
You can’t live Overboard in your own strength for very long. Let God give you the power you need to press on so, like Paul, you too can finish your race!
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!