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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Living Joyously (Part 1 of 2)

Living Joyously (Part 1 of 2)

“I have cerebral palsy-what's your problem?” Whatever difficulties you face, you can't help but be encouraged as you hear David Ring describe how God's strength helps him overcome the limitations of his severe disability. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: July 9, 2013


John Fuller: Today on Focus on the Family, our guest is David Ring, and he shares his unique perspective about living with cerebral palsy.

David Ring: What’s wrong with cerebral palsy? They tell me it’s a handicap; it’s a disability. Baloney! Baloney! Baloney! I’d rather be like I am any day than a healthy man that don’t [sic] know the power of God. (Cheers and Applause)

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John: Well, you’re going to be hearing more of that passion. And I do hope you’ll be inspired to live your life more fully, regardless of your circumstances. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, we’re returning to one of the most popular broadcasts of all time here at Focus on the Family. And every time I hear this message, I’m inspired once again to make the most of what God has given me and also to love and accept those around me. David is a great example of the fact that every life is precious because we’re all made in the image of God. And I think you’ll be amazed when you hear how the Lord has worked in David’s life.

John: Yeah, it’s really a powerful message. And let me note that David has written a book which shares the whole story. It’s called The Boy Born Dead, and we do have copies of that here at the ministry. Your donations go right back into reaching out and touching people around the world. Request your copy and donate generously as you can at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

And what should be apparent is that David’s speech has been deeply affected by cerebral palsy, so he’s a bit difficult to understand at first, but it’ll take just a short while and you’ll get pulled into his message. Here now is David Ring, speaking at Moody Bible Institute’s Founder’s Week a number of years ago, on Focus on the Family.

David: Let me ask you something. Do you ever get down in the dumps? Do you? Why? (laughter) “Everybody’s doing it.” (laughter) “If it feels good, do it, man.” “Come to my house. Let’s all get down in the dumps together.” (laughter) But why do we get down in the dumps? Because we have our eyes on circumstance. We have our eyes on our circumstance.  Every time you get your eyes on your circumstance, you are going to get down in the dumps.

But I come to you today to share with you that God can make lemonade out of anybody’s lemon. Amen? But the problem is, we don’t want to give God the lemon. Now, how can God make lemonade out of our lemon, if we don’t give God the lemon?

You, you know why we don’t give God the lemon? Because if we give God the lemon, we won’t have anything to talk about. (laughter) Huh? No wonder people don’t come to church. Because every time they come to church, they see a bunch of people sharing lemons with each other. (laughter) “Do you want to see my lemon?” (laughter) “Oh, I can beat that, my lemon’s bigger lemon than your lemon.” (laughter, applause)

Do you know I’m so afraid to ask people how are they doing? Number one, I’m afraid they’re gonna tell me. Number two, I don’t want to know. “How you doing, ma’am?” “Oh, my back’s killing me.” “How you doing, Joe?” “Oooh I don’t think I’m gonna make it today.” (laughter) That’s pitiful. Every little pain in your body, you go. “Woe is me. Woe is me. Woe, it’s my feet. Woe it’s my leg. Woe it’s my back. Woe it’s my head.”  Oh, get over it. (laughter)

Amen? [Amen!]  I believe with all my heart that God’s people, should never get down in the dumps. You say, “Preacher. I don’t believe, that.”  I know you don’t believe it. You know why you don’t believe it? Because you’ve been brainwashed all your life. You’ve been told “everybody’s doing it….” “it’s okay just share your feelings….” “it’s okay, just get down in the dumps and, and, and be yourself.” That sounds good folks, but it’s not in the word of God. And I believe with all my heart that God’s people should never get down in the dumps. You say, “Preacher, you don’t know what I’m going through.” No, I don’t. “You don’t know I’m the storm I’m in.” No, I don’t. “You don’t know the valley I’m in.” No, I don’t.

I don’t understand how a husband and a wife can live together 40-50 years, and wake up one morning and say, “We don’t love each other.” I don’t understand that.  I don’t understand how a man can leave town with another man’s wife, in the church. I don’t understand that. I don’t understand how a young couple, a husband and a wife can pray for a baby and God don’t [sic] see fit to open the womb.   I don’t understand that storm.

But I know one thing, the bible said God works together all things for the good of them that love God. [Romans 8:28] If you love God, say amen. [Amen!] If you love God, God is on your side. God is not against you. We’ve got the mentality of “God, God don’t love me.” “God is against us.” But I’m here to tell you, not only to tell you, but to show you from my own life that God is for us. God loves us. I have not always felt that way though.

I was born to lose, born dead for 18 minutes.  The oxygen couldn’t get to my brain.  That’s why I walk with a limp.  That’s why I talk like I do because of cerebral palsy at birth.  Strike number one. When I was 11 years old—a little boy—my daddy got sick.  November 1964 my daddy died with cancer of the liver.  Strike number two.

Well, I’m the baby of the family.  I’m the baby of eight, and when I came along they spoiled me rotten.  I’m nothing but a spoiled-rotten brat and I love every minute of it. (laughter) My momma spoiled me rotten.  My momma gave me everything I wanted and sometimes she even gave me things I don’t want…you know what I mean? (laughter) But I love my momma.  I’m not only the baby of the family, but I’m a “A #1 Momma’s Baby Boy.”  You can tell by looking at me I’m a momma[‘s] boy because I got the momma baby face. (laughter) And [if] you make fun of me, I’m gonna punch your lights out. (laughter)

Every morning my momma and I get [sic] up before we’d put our arm[s] around each other and we’d tell each other we love each other.  Nothing wrong with loving your momma.  Amen?  I think everybody need[s] a momma[‘s] love.  Everybody needs a momma[‘s] touch.  There is something very special about my momma and I’m not ashamed to tell you.  I will be a “A #1 Momma[‘s] Baby Boy” until the day I die.  Why?  Because I love my momma. [Amen]

One day in my life though my momma got sick.  The woman I loved, the woman I adored, the woman I rise up every morning and call “Blessed.”  She went into the hospital the day before Mother[‘s] Day 1968 to have a operation on her neck—a simple operation, no big deal, but July though–two months later–the doctor came to my family and said, “Your momma will never come home again.  She has cancer.  She had six months at the very, very most to live.”  I thought, “Oh, no.  Not my momma.  My momma can’t die on me.  My momma shields me.  My momma protects me.  My momma is the only one that loves me just the way I am.  My momma can’t die on me.  Can she?”

John: What an extraordinary story we’re hearing today on Focus on the Family, and that is David Ring, and he’s written his story really well in the book, The Boy Born Dead. We’re making that available to you today for a gift of any amount to the ministry of Focus on the Family. We’re gonna include a free audio download of the entire presentation so you can listen again or pass this on to a friend. Donate and request those at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call for details. 800-A-FAMILY. Let’s go ahead and return now to David Ring.

David: I done [sic] the only thing I knew what to do.  I got down on my knees every day.  Every night and day I’d say, “God, please don’t take my momma.  God, please don’t take my momma.  God, please don’t take my momma.  God, my momma’s the only thing I have.  God. Don’t take my momma, please.”  But in October 1968 God took my momma, the only one that loves me just the way I am.  And I saw my precious mom go from 185 pounds to 57 pounds.  Strike number three.

I didn’t want to live.  I wanted to die.  If I couldn’t live with my momma, I did not want to live at all.  Everywhere I went somebody would point their finger and said, “Look, the boy walk[s] funny.  Look, the boy can’t…talk funny.  Look, the boy can’t do anything.  Why, look, look, look.” And I couldn’t go home to my momma. And I couldn’t say, “Momma, somebody made fun of me today.”  She couldn’t put her arm around me and make it all better.  People looked at me.  I would lay in bed every day, every night with tears rolling down my face, begging to die.  Why?  Because I was lonely.  Why?  Because I was longing to be in my momma[‘s] arms one more time.  I thought, if I only could climb up in my momma[‘s] lap one more time, if I only could feel my momma[‘s] loving arms one more time, momma would make it better.  But those days never came.

You remember that song we’d sung when we were a little boy or a little girl, “Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”  Only one problem with that.  Everybody got [sic] to wake up one day.  And I woke up.  And when I woke up I felt that nobody loves me.  I thought my family give [sic] up on me.  Everybody gave up on me.  But one sister, she encouraged me.  She wanted me to go to school.  I didn’t want to go to school.  I hated school.  It’s no fun to walk down the hallway and let somebody laugh at the way I walk, and let somebody laugh at the way I talk.  It’s no fun to walk down to a bus stop every morning and every time I opened my mouth, trying to be friendly, all I wanted [was] somebody to be my friend.  All I wanted [was] somebody to love me just the way I am.  All I wanted [was] somebody to put their arm around me and say, “It’s going to be okay.”  But, but every time I opened my mouth, somebody would point their finger in my face and call me “retarded” and every other name they could, but it hurts, folks.

I told my sister, “Give up on me.  I’m hopeless.  I’m worthless.”  I thought nobody loved me.  I thought God was against me, just give up on me.  She said, “No, I’m not going to give up on you.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with you yet, but I’m sure not going to give up on you.” (laughter) Thank God for a stubborn sister.  Amen? [Amen!]

She wanted me to go to church.  I didn’t want to go to church either.  I’d been brought up in the church.  My daddy’s a preacher.  I’m the preacher’s kid.  I know the lingo. (laughter) I even know John 3:16, but John 3:16 don’t [sic] make any sense.  It’s one thing to stand behind the pulpit and on Saturday [sic] morning and say, “For God so loved the–

Audience:  World.

David:  that He gave his only begotten…

Audience:  Son.

David:  Oh, that sounds so good and wonderful, don’t [sic] it?  But it’s another thing to wake up every morning with tear[s] rolling down my face and say, “God, do you love me?  God, if you love me, why did you take away my daddy?  God, if you love me, why did you take away my momma?  God, if you love me, why did you give me a crippled body?  God, if you love me, why are you breaking my heart every time I turn around?  God, if you love me, where are you when I need you the most?”

People look at me.  I don’t know you, but I know one thing for sure, that most of you, if not all of you, have asked God the same questions, haven’t you?  I guarantee you, people, if I were [to] open up your lives today, I will find something way down deep crying out, “God, if you love me, why, why, why?”  We’ve got the mentality of God, that God is against us.  I’ve been there, folks and nobody understands your storm quite like you do.

But one night I went to church just to get my sister off my back.  [laughter] She’d been on it long enough.  It’s time she climb[ed] off.  That night I went there.  I sat down and the preacher got up to preach, and I said, “Man, now I wish you would shut up” (laughter) You’ve been there too, huh?  (laughter) And that night the preacher shut up, okay?  But look at me, people.  Something happened in my life that changed my life forever.  The Lord Jesus spoke up and the Lord came to me and He knocked at my heart.  He said, “David, I’m standing at your heart, knocking.  If you’ll only listen to Me and open the door, I will come in and I will have fellowship with you forever, and forever.”  And that night I got up off my seat, came down to a[n] old-fashioned altar.  Got down on my knees and I said, “Lord Jesus, here I am.  If You’re really up there, if You really love me, come into my life.  I’m a lonely, crippled boy. [applause] I’m a nobody, but tonight I want to be a somebody.”  Hallelujah, people.  April 17th, 1970, at 8:45 P.M. I became a somebody because Jesus came into my life. (cheers, applause)

For the first time in my life, I felt like God loves me just the way I am.  God took away my old thing and gave me new thing[s].  God…God took away my loneliness, gave me happiness.  I’m not lonely anymore, I’m happy.  You know why?  Because I’ve been to the doctor, Doctor Jesus. (applause) Pretty good doctor to go to, amen?  Number one, you don’t have to wait in a lobby for two hours. (laughter) God took away my sorrow and gave me joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Look at me, people.  Look at me.  I still walk with a limp.  I still talk funny, but oh the joy that floods my soul because Jesus touched me and made me whole. (extended applause) I’m not the same anymore.  I’ve been changed by the power of God.  I’ve been touched by the old-time religion.  It happened to me over 25 years ago and you know what?  I’m not over it yet. (applause) I don’t want to die.  I want to live.  Why?  Because I[‘ve] got something worth living for.  People, look at me.  It’s not what we are on the outside.  It’s everything we are on the inside. (applause)

John:  Oh, we hate to break in, but that’s where we’re gonna have to end this episode of Focus on the Family. What a terrific presentation by David Ring, as he spoke at Moody Bible Institute’s during Founders Week, and we’ll hear next time how God continued to work in David’s life, and how he met his wife and started a family.

Jim: John, isn’t it amazing that the Lord help David developed into such a powerful speaker in spite of his speech impediment and physical challenges? What a great example of God’s ability to work through any of us, no matter what our circumstances are. And, you know, this program does highlight our core mission here at Focus on the Family, and that is to introduce people to Jesus Christ. I hope you heard that clearly today in David’s presentation. And if you’ve never accepted Christ into your life, I want to pray for you right now, because you know what? It’ll change the rest of your life for the better. Let’s pray.

Lord Jesus, I want to pray on behalf of those who are bending their knee, maybe not physically, but mentally, toward you right now. And we want to pray together, Lord, that we recognize ourselves as sinners. We fall short of Your perfection. And yet, Lord, even in that, You love us and You care for us like a Father loves his children. And Lord, we come to Your Throne asking for forgiveness and for You to come into our lives as broken people, Lord, to make us whole. We acknowledge that You, Jesus, are the Son of God, and we thank You for Your sacrificial death on the cross, to pay for our sins and to give us eternal life. Come into our lives right now and change us into the people you want us to be. And we thank you in Christ’s name. Amen.

John: Amen. And if you prayed along with Jim right there, stop by our website and look for a free online booklet we have. It’s called Coming Home. It’ll give you some next steps to take in your spiritual journey.

Jim: And let us know that you prayed that prayer. And let me say, well done. Welcome to the family of God.

John: Yeah, you’ve made a great decision, and it changes everything, moving forward. We’d love to hear your story, so please call us.  Our number is 800-A-FAMILY or visit us online and that’s where you’ll find that Coming Home e-booklet as well. We’re at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.  And this reminder that we do have copies of David Ring’s biography, The Boy Born Dead, here at the ministry if you’d like to request a copy.

Next time, you’ll hear how God has used David Ring to proclaim the gospel around the world.


David: When I was in my momma’s womb, God ordained me. The Bible says I was wonderfully and fearfully made by God. [applause]

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Today's Guests

The Boy Born Dead: A Story of Friendship, Courage, and Triumph

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