I have waited longer than I wanted or expected to write this post. Sunday afternoon I found out that my good friend, Kevin Ogar, had suffered a tragic accident at the OC Throwdown. As the details came forth the devastation only grew. One of my good friends dropped a bar on his back almost a year earlier to the date. Josh’s situation I thought would be similar to that of Kevin’s. I would find out that Kevin’s injuries were much more severe. My heart hurt more and more as the details continued to come and we found out Kevin had lost use of his legs. Kevin is a friend and an incredible athlete who knew how to handle 235# as good as anyone. As the severity of his situation settled on me I felt lost and hopeless. I only wanted to be there with my friend, and had no idea how to approach the Lord about his situation. I just begged Him to help Kevin. And still am.nIn most of the tragic circumstances I’ve encountered and experienced over my short life, the Word of God, Christ’s work on my behalf, and my theology have been a comfort. When I thought about Kevin and the road ahead for him and the tragedy of the situation, I was lost. I didn’t know where to turn, how to even begin to ask God for help, and any sense of comfort or peace was replaced with helplessness and nausea. That’s why I have waited for so long to write this post. I had no idea how to approach his situation. I knew the CrossFit community, much like the community of faith, would surround Ogar and support him in an unbelievable way. This fact has proven true. The CrossFit community has shown an incredible amount of love for Kevin. I know he feels that love and thanks everyone of you for it.
nAt first I was going to write this article to defend the Olympic lifts and talk specifically about causation for this tragedy. That seems fruitless at this point. What Ogar needs most is not to have the sport he was most passionate about debated over, OR a forum explosion of arguments over whose fault this is (Though I do believe there is a place for that). What Kevin needs right now is our support and our prayer. That’s what I want to write about here. HOW and WHAT do we pray for Kevin. Where does Scripture lead us and how can we pray knowing that God hears every word we lift up? I only want to write this because for the first couple days after Kevin’s accident I had no idea how to pray for him. People kept asking me to pray and telling me they were praying, but I was lost as to how to approach God with this situation.
nMany would tell me that all I had to do was pray without doubting. Pray with expectation that God would help Kevin and that God would act in favor of my prayers, but I knew God was not that easily manipulated or controlled. He is not a genie in a lamp or a vending machine that exists for my bidding based on my level of faith. I also had friends simply tell me to pray for comfort for Kevin and rest in the truth that God’s Sovereign Will would be done. But, I knew my God to be more compassionate, empathetic, and caring than that AND I wasn’t okay with that. I want Kevin to walk. To squat. To run. To snatch again. Here’s where Scripture leads me.nGod sees everything. He controls everything. All things are in His greater plan. Nothing surprises Him and NOTHING is outside of His power. He does all that He pleases and what He pleases is good because He is good. God knows what is best for us, for His glory, and for His kingdom. Who are we to think we know better even when the circumstances only seem worse?n(Proverbs 16:33, Psalm 115:1-3, Jeremiah 10:23, Ephesians 1:11, Luke 18:19)nWe also know that God uses prayer as the avenue by which His purposes are accomplished so that in this way prayer changes things. God hears our prayers. He wants us to pray to Him with expectation that He will answer. He commands us to pray with the expectation that He will act in our favor. He has relented from His own plan in response to the heartfelt prayer of faithful saints. God asks us to pray for what we desire and He tells us it will be given. The Lord merely asks that we humble ourselves before Him in recognition that He has the power alone to act miraculously. Jesus commanded a paralyzed man to rise, pick up his bed, and WALK. And he did.n(Exodus 32:9-14, James 4:2, Luke 11:9-10, 2 Chronicles 9:14, Mark 2:1-12, Matthew 21:21)nThe tension between these truths drove me crazy. Could I ask God to raise Kevin from that bed and have him walk out of that hospital? The Bible says that God commands me to pray that prayer with faith. Would God hear my prayer and respond as I desire for my friend? The Bible gives me no guarantee of that resolution but in fact reminds me that Kevin’s future, life, and legs were always God’s to begin with. God’s sovereign will is not inside our control and He doesn’t have to answer our prayers at all. BUT because He loves us, He does respond and act as He best sees fit for His glory, our good, and the good of His kingdom.
nLook at Paul’s life. Would anyone question his faith or intimacy with God? I hope not. He literally commanded a man to walk and he did. His articles of clothing held redemptive power because of the Holy Spirit’s presence. Yet, Paul lived hurt and pleaded with God for his own healing. God’s response to not heal Paul and exclaim that His grace was sufficient. This truth hurts but it’s true. I want so badly for God to heal Kevin. I find myself bewildered as to why God had not yet healed him. What bad could come from his healing? How much glory would God get if Kevin stood up from his hospital bed and walked away? Why not heal him God? These are the questions I asked. I found myself broken and hurting but resting in the words that His grace is sufficient.nAs I have struggled and battled with this tension for the past week the goodness of God has settled my heart to pray for Kevin knowing some truths. God hears our prayers. He responds to them. His plan for our lives extends well beyond our understanding. Our lives are His and always have been His. So, I pray hard for Ogar’s healing. I pray that Kevin will stand from that bed. Whether it be the miraculous work of God through modern medicine or a straight up miracle, I pray He walks. But I pray knowing that if God chooses not to heal Kevin, I will praise Him regardless because my affection for God is not based on His answering my prayer, but on who He is. I also pray knowing that God can heal Kevin. If He chooses not to, then in some way, which I have a hard time wrapping my head around, that is better for everyone. He sent His Son to save us from a death we deserved that we might enjoy life with Him. His goodness, compassion, and love cannot be questioned. I pray trusting in these truths knowing that only God has the capability to see Kevin walk again. I pray you will lift Ogar up as well.nIf you have not already, take a look at Ogar’s website and give as much as you can to his aid. The Church was created for situations like these. Be the Church.nwww.kevinogar.comn#ogarstrong
Further Resources:nMatt Chandler: Divine TensionsnMatt Chandler: The Art Of PrayernGeoff Ashley: Does God Want His People To Suffer?nGeoff Ashley: The Importance of a Theologically Correct PrayernWayne Grudem Systematic TheologynJI Packer: Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God