From Stephen, our friend and pastor:
My Godly, Disabled Friend
I've known Ian for a long time. Since we were kids in fact. We grew up next door to each other, so I got to see Ian in action during the formative years of his life. I remember when Ian tumbled out of the maple tree behind our house and broke his pelvis. I remember when Ian was being chased around the backyard by his mom because he had disobeyed her and he wouldn't allow her to discipline him. I remember Ian and my brother David filming many profoundly stupid videos in our basement. I also remember the day of Ian's car accident. I remember standing beside Ian's hospital, pleading with God to spare Ian's life. I remember the ventilator.
Since Ian's accident, I've come to learn some things about people who have disabilities. I've learned that people with disabilities are able to glorify God just as much, if not more, than those without disabilities. When I see the way that Ian and Larissa live, and the way that they seek to honor and please the Lord in the midst of pain and trial, I'm amazed. Ian is glorifying God in ways that I can't. He is glorifying God by being patient in trial. By trusting God. By blessing God through pain. Ian's life looks very different than mine, yet he is bearing just as much, if not more fruit than me.
I've also learned that a disability doesn't define a person. In many ways Ian is still the same guy he was before his accident. He still has a bizarre sense of humor. He is still high maintenance. Just the other day I was with Ian and I asked him how he was doing. He said, "I'll be doing much better when I get my coffee." Like I said, high maintenance. Sometimes I think we can treat people with disabilities like they are somehow different than us. Ian is still my brother in Christ and my friend. Our lives look different, but we are still bound together in Christ. He is not defined by his disability.
Finally, I've learned to appreciate heaven more. Ian and Larissa look forward to heaven more than any people I know. Ian's disability pushes his eyes heavenward. He knows that in many ways, this life stinks. I'm provoked by Ian's longing for heaven. I can be pretty darn complacent and comfortable. When things are going well, heaven recedes to the background. I want to be more like my friend Ian.