Raelene Bock Goalball (Raelene is a Paralympian. Goalball is a sport for those with visual impairment)
Through the encouragement and example of my mother when I was a child, I went to church and Sunday School. At the age of 15, I was seeking answers. My poor vision was genetic. I had two brothers and a sister and in such a family, one on four were likely to be affected. I was the one on the family.
I'd been asking questions like, "why me? Why not someone else?" and was going through a real "down" time. I was looking for answers in the wrong areas like with my friends and also keeping myself busy. One night, sitting on my bed, I got my Bible out and started to read it. The Bible had the answers for me and instead of feeling sorry for myself, I read that God would not give me anything I could not bare. Philippians 4:13 says, "Christ gives me the strength to face anything." This was the answer to what I was looking for at that point. I understood from the Bible that God was saying that despite my visual impairment He could still use me and that He had a purpose for my life.
That same weekend after reading my Bible, I attended a concert where a band was playing and people were sharing their faith in Jesus Christ. I heard the gospel and when a call to come forward was made I responded. That night I invited Jesus into my life.
After completing year 11 at school, I went through a rebellious stage. I left home, went to Sydney and stopped going to church. One night, while in was living in Sydney, I thought that an intruder had entered the house. There was no one there but I realized then, that because of my visual impairment, I would be really vulnerable if such a situation occurred. I remember being very frightened and asking myself the question: "what would happen if I died tonight?" I realized that I had to get my life in order. I started attending church again and got "back on track" with God.
The Atlanta Paralympics for me had so many high and low points. After returning from Atlanta, I realized that I needed to link into a regular Bible Study with others, as well as have time with God individually everyday.
The Bible is my life manual. It helps me to tune up different areas of my life when and where I need it. The Bible is my instruction guide for daily living.
Because of my visual impairment, I know that it will take a pure miracle for me to see on this earth but there is something I cling to which gives me wonderful hope. When I get to heaven, I believe my sight will be fully restored. It will be just wonderful to be able to see so much beauty around me for the first time. It will be truly awesome to see Jesus face to face and all the beauty of heaven.
A verse in the Bible which captures this for me is Romans 8:18 which says, "I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us."
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