Summary: There are manny facets to the Christian life.

INTRO.- ILL.- Some wit said the seven ages of man are: spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills, wills.

Most of us experience some of those, if not all of them. We especially don’t like the bills, the ills, and the pills. And maybe the wills! We probably prefer the thrills over anything else in life.

ILL.- Cecil Beaton took pictures of Queen Mother Elizabeth on her 50th birthday. In an extravagance of tact, Beaton sent her proofs so retouched that not a wrinkle showed. Her secretary returned them with a polite note that said in effect: “Her Majesty feels that, having weathered 50 years of life on earth, she would not like her photographs to suggest that she has come through completely unscathed.”

The truth is: no one goes through life unscathed or unwrinkled or unhurt, etc. We all experience certain negative things. It would be nice if we didn’t, but we do.

ILL.- Leroy Lawson is the great preacher and past president of Hope International University in Fullerton, CA. He retired from that position in July, 2003. During that time he was also the Sr. Minister of the Central Christian Church of Mesa, AZ. Leroy is a great preacher and a gifted writer. Did you hear him speak or read any of his books? You might get the impression that nothing negative ever happened to him in life. WRONG. Some years ago Leroy and his wife lost a son to suicide. I heard Leroy speak at the North American Christian Convention after losing his son and you could see, feel, and hear the pain of his loss.


ILL.- Boyce Mouton is the longtime preacher of the First Christian Church of Carl Junction, MO, near Joplin. Boyce is 67 years old. He and his wife Betty have five grown children. Boyce was the preacher at the Fairview Christian Church in Carthage, MO, in 1968 when I was ordained.

On Oct. 25, 2002, Boyce’s 24-year-old grandson, Joshua Mouton, was involved in a traffic accident that left him paralyzed and with all kinds of other injuries.

At one point, a surgeon told the Moutons that Josh would never recover and that he would be a vegetable for the rest of his life. Today, though he still cannot speak, Josh has proved that doctor wrong. He interacts with people and can move most of his right side.

For two hours every day, he goes to rehab sessions at St. John’s rehabilitation center where he is trying to learn how to speak, eat and walk again. His current form of communication is to respond to yes-or-no questions, with one finger on the right hand meaning, "yes" and two meaning "no."

There is an internet site called “Visiting” where I can get updates on Joshua Mouton’s progress. Here’s the latest information.

1/22/2004 – “Progress has been slow for Josh the last month or so. There are still bright moments such as recently when Nancy was preparing to leave and told Josh she loved him. He quickly pointed to himself and back at her. She asked him if he was saying he loved her and he answered, "yes" with a sign. There are also discouraging times because of the gaps in Josh‘s mental abilities and his physical limitations.

“Josh is unable to do anything for himself and requires 24-hour care. He cannot speak, but communicates on a limited basis with "yes" and "no" signals. He is working on some true sign language. He laughs out loud at amusing comments and enjoys movies. He always responds warmly to Kiley when she comes back from work or running errands. His movement is limited to his right arm and hand and his head. He is sustained by a feeding tube, but eats and drinks small amounts orally. Please continue to pray for a breakthrough for Josh and for strength and peace for Kiley, Nancy, John and the rest of the family. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do. God bless.”

It was Boyce Mouton’s continued admonition to look for the blessings amid the trials that helped the family keep its sanity during those tense months.

Joshua’s dad, John said of his father, Boyce, "Dad is optimistic, almost to a fault. It almost drives you nuts, but it’s also very contagious. Every time he would come to visit Josh at the hospital, he was always looking for the silver lining.

"But that’s him to a T. Whenever we would get more bad news, like Josh needing another chest tube, Dad would find something good out of it. He fostered that optimistic outlook and reminded us that this is not the end, and I think we’ve adopted that philosophy as a family."

As I said earlier, no one goes through life unscathed, unwrinkled or unhurt. We all suffer in some form in life.

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