Why Am I Here?


Whenever I talk to a group, I usually begin with some version of that question. Yesterday I visited a group of middle school students. Their answers reinforced my conviction that I always learn more from kids than they learn from me.

Kids are less inhibited than adults, which is mostly a good thing. So when I asked ”Why do you think I’m here?” it didn’t take long for someone to suggest it might be because I’m in a wheelchair. I was pleased that nobody suggested lack of hair as a reason.

I agreed that the wheelchair was at least part of the reason I’d been invited. I told them the story of my injury and the struggle to re-learn the simplest tasks.

We talked about despair and hopelessness. I shared my months of certainty that life no longer had any meaning or purpose.

Then I said, “So maybe the reason I’m here is because I got out of bed this morning.”

They asked how I got past the hopelessness, so I told them about the people in the story of Relentless Grace. I explained that these folks refused to let me drive them away and toss my life in the dumpster.

We talked about the difficulty of helping friends who repay kindness with anger. I asked them to think of someone they knew who might be feeling lost and challenged them to stay with that person even if it was hard.

Then one little guy raised his hand. “So the reason you’re here today is because a bunch of people didn’t quit on you when you were being a jerk.”

I would have hugged him, but middle school boys don’t like being hugged in front of their friends.

As I drove home I pondered the simple power of his observation.

Why am I here today?

– Because I’m in a wheelchair.

– Because I got out of bed this morning.

– Because a bunch of people didn’t quit on me when I was being a jerk.

I’m here today because God loved me and sent His Son for me when I didn’t deserve it.

That’s why we’re all here today.