“The True Miracle of Healing,” Liahona, February 2017
The year 2000 was full of significant events for my family and me. My wife and I celebrated our first anniversary. We became parents for the first time. It was also the year I became paralyzed, just five weeks after our daughter’s birth.
That summer I had been helping an elderly sister in our ward by regularly biking the few blocks from our apartment to her home to mow her lawn, but one morning I was very tired and not as alert as I should have been—and I was accidentally hit by a car. While it is a miracle that I survived, I unfortunately did not escape without injury. One week after the accident, I awoke to the realization that I was paralyzed, unable to move any muscles below my lower chest.
Paralysis is a permanent disability. Even with all of today’s great strides in modern science and medicine, it cannot be cured. And naturally I was afraid at first, concerned with how I was going to be a husband and a father. The fear was then replaced by anger at myself for being foolish—for not stopping at that intersection and for not wearing a helmet.
I felt like a burden. It took many months at a rehabilitation hospital to teach me to live the rest of my life with my disability and how to become independent again. At the same time, living with my paralysis has helped me better understand the scriptures and our Savior’s Atonement.
One particular insight came while I was pondering the miracles that Christ performed. In Mark 2, Jesus forgives a paralytic of his sins and then heals him. When the scribes questioned His offer of forgiveness, Jesus said, “Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?” (verse 9).
I had read this scripture many times before, but I never understood it until after my accident. In reading the chapter, we are reminded of how truly miraculous the healing was. Today, even after 2,000 years and many medical advancements, such a healing still cannot be achieved by man alone, and I live with this reality every day. Many think that this is the lesson behind this scripture—that Christ has the power to cure even the incurable. But there is so much more to this scripture, especially as we look past the physical miracle and instead focus on the spiritual miracle.
Just as it is impossible for one with physical paralysis to “arise” and “walk,” it is equally impossible for man alone to overcome the spiritual paralysis caused by sin. I have learned that the Savior’s Atonement is the true miracle in this scripture. I may never experience the miracle of being able to physically arise and walk again in my earthly life, but I have received the greater miracle of the forgiveness of my sins through the Atonement of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The reality of this miracle is affirmed in verses 10 and 11:
“But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
“I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.”
Being healed of the effects of sin is the greatest miracle we each receive in our lives, all because of Jesus Christ. In atoning for our sins, Christ took our infirmities and sins upon Himself. He knows what we go through in life. He understands our individual disabilities, weaknesses, and challenges, no matter how big or small. There is no other person in the world who can heal the spiritual paralysis of sin.
I am thankful for the insight that I have been blessed with. It provides needed perspective as I live with my disability and strive to use it to help me learn and grow. I have been able to stop feeling sorry for myself and go do the same things I loved to do before my accident, and I have been blessed to be able to serve in spite of my condition. Some may find it difficult to be thankful when living with a disability, but God blesses us continually—even in these times. I am grateful for my Savior, for His Atonement, and for this amazing miracle in my life.