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When I was a boy, I worshipped men of great physical strength. My heroes were Tarzan and Hercules. Movies having either of them as characters held me spellbound and often I dreamed of possessing that kind of physical strength and courage.

At the time, I didn't realize it, but my infatuation with physical strength was partly due to my belief that having a strong body would give me courage. Though I enjoyed rough play, like wrestling and football, I was a coward at heart. As I was a big kid, it was easy to cover it up and portray a brave front, but the truth was: I was easily intimidated by other boys and I had no confidence in myself when it came to fighting. At some time or another in life, I believe most boys must learn how to deal with fighting. The very last thing any boy, or man wants. is to give the impression he is a coward. It is the worst, vilest shame a guy can bare.

After I injured my spinal cord and became paralyzed, fighting became a non-issue, simply because I couldn't fight anymore. However, I was a coward still. The change in my physical circumstances was translated in my mind with a change from being a coward afraid of fighting to being a coward afraid of living life! It is very frightening to see oneself as being weak, having a weak mind, and a weak will.

Less than two years after injuring my spinal cord, a few men who had overcome addictions to drugs and to alcohol spoke at my church. I was captivated by how well they spoke of their experiences and amazed at how they moved our congregation. It became my burning desire to speak of God as zealously as they did. Later, while wandering around in my powered wheelchair near where I lived, I prayed fervently for the strength to speak like they did, boldly and fearlessly, of the things of God.

Barely had I finished uttering my prayer, when the words "Find the strength in yourself" were spoken in my mind as clear as a bell. I was crestfallen. This was not the response I expected. I almost felt like screaming those famous words, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Didn't God know I had no strength? I was a weakling, a coward. I didn't have the strength to live my life paralyzed and still be happy. How could I also find the strength to speak of God?

A lot has transpired since those words were spoken to me. Not only have I found the strength to live with a paralyzed body, I have discovered I can be happy too. I also have found the strength to speak of God and spiritual matters. Now, it's as much a part of me and my life as is my paralysis, my happiness, my passion.

It took me awhile to learn the strength I found in myself is the source of all strength. As King David said in II Samuel 22:33 in the Old Testament of the King James Version of the Bible: "God is my strength and power: and he makes my way perfect." I'm still a coward but possessing the strength of God has enabled me to accept it. "Find the strength in yourself." The strength I found in me is God in me.
Written by Paul Landis Delaune