The Uprising - Perseverance
Nikko Landeros and Tyler Carron are Paralympic gold medalists. But it was not the day of their triumph that would change their lives beyond all recognition.
It was three years prior, in January 2007, when Nikko and Tyler were 17 years old. They were driving home with friends from a school dance when they got a flat tire. Nikko and Tyler got out and opened up the boot to find some tools when another car, driven by a fellow student, ploughed directly into them.
"The last thing I remember was asking my mum what shoes I should wear for the dance. I don't even remember leaving the house," said Tyler, who was unconscious immediately after the collision. He would later wake up and find out that both he and his friend had lost their legs in the accident.
Nikko, still conscious, knew almost as soon as it happened. "It felt like you got hit by an 18-wheeler. On impact you're not able to breathe, your body goes into shock so you don't really feel losing your legs - it's crazy how your body works but I didn't feel the pain," he said.
Suddenly losing your legs would be a life-changing tragedy for anyone, but to make matters worse, Nikko and Tyler were both accomplished sportsmen across wrestling, American football, and ice hockey. They would now have to adapt to the physical and mental challenges of life as double-leg amputees. "I remember waking up in the hospital angry because I didn't have any legs," said Tyler.
So how did Nikko and Tyler go from losing their legs to winning a Paralympic gold medal in just three years? They would learn how to play Para-Ice Hockey and help Team USA to Gold Medal triumph in 2010, 2014 and 2018 Winter Paralympic Games.
Nikko summed up their journey from tragedy to victory by saying, “You either give up and cross over that line, or you fight.”
In this series of articles we’ll be asking the question, what is it going to take for our nation to change? How can we see a culture-shaping movement of Jesus-followers impact our communities? What does it look like for a generation to rise up and participate in a true uprising? And more specifically, what does it take for you and I to be part of that?
Without question, as Tyler and Nikko’s story demonstrates, nothing of significance ever takes place without perseverance - the determination to keep going when it would be easier to give in.
In Judges chapter 2 we find the people of Israel finally inhabiting Canaan - the promised land they had looked forward to for centuries. But getting there had been far from easy.
First Moses had led them out of slavery in Egypt; next, they had spent forty years wandering around in the desert; then, under the leadership of Joshua, they had fought many battles and overcome many armies to get to this promised land. But now Joshua was dead, and the generation now living in the promised land had not experienced those trails. So what would God do? He would allow them to be tested.
These are the nations that the Lord left in the land to test the Israelites who had experienced the wars of Canaan. He did this to teach warfare to the generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle. - Judges 3:1-2
God knew that if his people were to step into the future that he had for them if they were to become a nation who would truly influence the world, he would have to teach them perseverance. And in order to teach them perseverance, he would have to allow them to face opposition.
Sometimes God will allow us to face battles in order to teach us to fight. He wants to develop strength, resilience and perseverance in us. He wants to call out the warrior within us but to do that we must experience battle. So if you are experiencing difficulties right now God is not abandoning or punishing you, he is preparing you to participate in the future he has for you!
James, the brother of Jesus, wrote these words…
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
If you want to let the future begin, you have to find the warrior within! If you want to be someone who participates in an uprising across this nation, you have to develop perseverance. Because nothing of significance ever happened without fighting for it.
As Nikko Landeros said, “You either give up and cross over that line, or you fight.”
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