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To Hell And Back

Author: Christian Hacking

Picture: Matiasarg, Pixabay

To Hell And Back

At Easter, the ecstasy of the resurrection follows the agony of the cross. It seemed Christian Hacking's life was over after a horrendous accident, but God had other plans.

This Easter, we remember the cross and resurrection of Christ-those momentous events when God reconciled the world to himself.

This was part of an ancient plan. Through the cross and resurrection of Jesus, God achieved something no one thought possible: total forgiveness of sin for all.

Utter darkness was transformed into utter light. Who could do such a thing but God alone?

Together the cross and resurrection of Christ form the hope of the world.

There is another aspect to the cross and resurrection which should further encourage our hearts this Easter: its current, living power.

Plunged Into Darkness

On 27 July 2014, I broke my back in a rock climbing accident. I fell thirty feet onto a grassy knoll and exploded a bone in the base of my spine. In a moment, I lost all feeling below my waist.

I don’t know what hurt more: the physical injury, or the slow, bitter realisation that the life I had planned was never going to happen.

My prognosis was abysmal. I was told I would never be able to walk or have children. I would also not be able to use the toilet “normally” again.

As a result, I plunged into darkness. Sleepless nights, agonising physio sessions and degrading toilet training compounded my distress.

My prayers seemed to hit the ceiling and slap me back in the face. Jesus’ words on the cross became my own: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

Inwardly Renewed

God did not forsake me. In the silence, temptations and despair of those days, he was working not primarily on my outer man but on my inner man. 

I became less proud and less independent.  I cried and cried.  I started loathing my sin and longing for heaven. To paraphrase Paul: “Outwardly I was perishing, but inwardly I was being renewed daily.” (c.f. 2 Corinthians 4:16)

Of course, it did not feel that way at the time. I showed my anger towards God in the best way I knew how: I ignored him.  Although I made my bed in the depths, God’s Spirit was still there.

God pursued me until I surrendered and chose to trust.  I surrendered to the mystery of why a young man should lose his legs in the prime of his life. I trusted that, somehow, God would bring good out of it.

Though far from physically better, I was transformed at the moment I chose to believe that, if God could use the cross for good, he could also use my situation.

Amazing Things

God has since done some amazing things to redeem my accident.

Bit by bit, I have regained the use of my legs. I have reconciled with my parents and God has given me a job defending the most vulnerable in society.

He has also blessed me with a gorgeous wife, who quickly became pregnant to confound my prognosis. What a miracle!

I still have bad days when I want to give up. Although I still cry big tears, I can say with confidence that the Lord has redeemed my accident so fully that I would never have it any other way.

He did it on the cross. He did it for me, and he can do it for you, too.

My advice at Easter is this: take your sufferings to Jesus. Then wait and see what happens.

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