Abigail Paul attended the NICHE homeschool convention in Des Moines last weekend and wrote about the closing keynote session by Chris Klicka. I knew I had to share it with you all–this was immensely challenging and encouraging! -Natalie
by Abigail Paul
Mr. Klicka began by speaking of the value of thanking God for everything — “not because you feel like it, but because it’s true.” Over and over he said, “It’s not about me or you: it’s about God and His glory.” God is all-powerful and works in spite of and through our weaknesses. His glory and our relationship with Him is far, far more important than our comfort.
Earlier this week Mr. Klicka was feeling very discouraged and begged God to just take him Home. “You don’t need me any more, Lord,” he cried. “You have so many mouths that will speak for You…why do I have to stay here and go through this agony every day? I just want my body back…!” The self pity and anger threatened to overwhelm him. Then he remembered Isaiah 40 — how God is so much bigger and more powerful than us puny, finite humans…and how the chapter ends on the glorious note of God’s love for us and His promise to strengthen those who wait on Him. These truths gave the grace he needed to once again submit to God’s plan for his life and say Thank You for it all.
Mr. Klicka’s voice was choked with tears as he shared these truths which he has learned in the fire of extreme physical trials. I appreciated the humility and opennes with which he shared his personal struggles and victories. “God is a consuming fire,” he testified. “As you get closer to Him, the dross in your life burns off. It’s painful, but evermore glorious.”
Watching him gripping the podium, straining every second to remain standing on crippled, paralyzed legs, doubtless experiencing much pain and discomfort that he never mentioned — and yet full of peace and thanksgiving and faith in God’s unending goodness…it was something I shall not soon forget. God knew it was exactly the inspiration and example I needed just now.
Mr. Klicka closed in prayer: “You are so good to us, Lord. Thank you for loving us unconditionally. You may not give us what we want — like healing or a pain-free life — but You give us what is most important: a relationship with You.” That’s where our focus must remain, so we can continually say with Paul, “For my determined purpose is that I may know Him…” How easy it is to lose sight of that.
I agree with Bob Farewell: “Chris Klicka is a living, breathing, sure-fire hero in my book.” Thank God for men like him who invest into others’ lives so selflessly, and at great personal cost! He needs our prayers that he would continue to stand strong spiritually, even as his physical limitations become greater, and that he will victoriously complete all that God has for him to do here on earth.
A few paragraphs by Mr. Klicka…
(written a couple years ago)
“The Word is my best weapon against this disease—and prayer.
“This disease is so slow—I have had a thousand funerals as my body functions slip, ever so gradually, away these last 10 years. First, I had to surrender my ability to run to the MS. Then walking without support as I began using one cane five years ago. Then my balance, my ability to carry anything, and my ability to bend over while standing. Then my ability to drive with my feet, take hikes, do yard work, fix cars, paint, sit on the ground (limbs too stiff), get up when I fall (at least once a week the last two years), do buttons and zippers, type with most of my right hand, lift my knees (I walk like my legs are stilts), etc. And my slipping nerve function is messing up my ability to write, my ability to stand straight or long, and so many little functions.
“It is so hard, yet God is teaching me to rejoice anyway. He is molding and shaping me to be more conformed to the image of His Son.
“God is gently telling me and strengthening me through His Word, ‘Do not lose heart. Though the outward man is decaying, the inner man is being renewed day by day. This momentary light affliction is nothing compared to weight of glory.’
“Heaven is looking so good! Amen?”
I hope to share more about the conference later (it all was such a blessing!), and I have a bunch of pictures to post…but this is all I have time for today. Our Father is so, so faithful, friends! As Mr. Klicka exemplifies and I also have experienced, there is nothing quite like praising Him at midnight in the middle of the storm! One of Amy Carmichael’s favorite quotes poetically puts it this way: “Only heaven is better than to walk with Christ at midnight over moonless seas.”
He is good, He is faithful, and He is always, always trustworthy. We can never thank Him enough.