I’m sure many of you have heard the story. The story of a son (Rick Hoyt) who wouldn’t give in to defeat after being diagnosed with celebral palsy as a child. A father (Dick Hoyt) who refused to accept anything but the best for his son despite the doctors telling him he should institutionalize his child because he would amount to nothing more than a “vegetable.” A story that goes against conventional wisdom, that brings hope to those who are hopeless, that brings light to those who are in the dark, that shows that anything is possible despite what the world might tell you.
This is the story of the Hoyt family, and to say that it’s inspiring would be an understatement…
The world told the Hoyts to give up. To surrender to their condition. To accept the idea that because of Rick’s limitations, they couldn’t make an impact on this world through a full and productive life.
The Hoyts responded by inspiring millions…
They have competed in over a thousand long distance running events–including multiple Boston Marathons, six Ironman triathlons, and even a running/biking trip across the United States. In addition, they have been honored by having a bronze statue of them created at the start of the Boston Marathon, an induction into the Ironman Hall of Fame, as well as winning the aforementioned Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2013 ESPY’s.
More impressive to me, however, is their commitment to using their story to inspire others. To stand up for those who believe they’re too weak, too incapable, or too “disabled” to make a difference with their lives. Or as Rick puts it, “We run for those who think they can’t.”
The world saw Rick as an incapable “vegetable.” Thankfully, his father Dick saw more and thanks to his vision and willingness to act, Rick has achieved more than anyone could have ever imagined.
Not surprisingly, the world often sends us a similar message. It tells us that we’re not good enough, not skilled enough, and not special enough to make an impact on the world.
Thankfully for us, we also have a Father who has a vision for our lives that is more meaningful and significant than we can even imagine. And just like Dick acted on behalf of his son, our Father also acts on our behalf. For He saw that we could not complete the race without His help, without His willingness to act, without His decision to come down to earth and lift us up to the finish line.
Rick knew that he could not compete in all these races without the help of his father. And just like Rick, we need to recognize that we can’t adequately run our race without accepting the free offer God has given us to carry us to where we’re meant to be. All we have to do is accept that we can’t do it alone and reach out to His merciful hand for guidance.
The Hoyts’ story is an inspirational one on a multitude of levels, but perhaps the most inspiring is the picture of Christ they represent–a father who refuses to let his son succumb to his deficiencies and carries him to victory. A father who is too in love with his son to accept anything less than the best. A father who looks beyond the “impossible” and directly into the miraculous. A father who cares…
“But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'”–Matthew 19: 26