Hope changes what’s possible.

My friend Rich Dixon is helping me out here, with posts that come just at the right time and just with the right challenge for me.

“Hope changes what’s possible.”

Catchy phrase, right? Great for an inspiring refrigerator magnet or the front of a t-shirt. But…can we really change what’s possible?

After all, it’s either possible…or not.

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I sat on my first handcycle in March, 1999.

You can read the full story of The First Ride, but it’s fair to say that two blocks in thirty minutes wasn’t exactly a rousing success.

After a silly accident left me paralyzed and sitting in a wheelchair, I spent more than ten years whining and giving up. I was certain my life was worthless, that there was simply no point in trying because I was going to fail anyway. Whatever it was, I couldn’t do it.


But when I completed that initial, ponderously slow journey, I couldn’t wait to try again. I kept going, blocks and then miles, until I’d cranked 1000 miles during the summer of 1999. Then a number of tours all over the U.S. And more than 40,000 total miles to date.

What changed? How do you go from I-can’t to I-want-to-try? I was still the same stick-armed guy who’d done virtually no physical activity for a decade. But something was different.

In that two-block ride I discovered something I’d been missing since my accident. When I started, I was sure I couldn’t do it…I only agreed to try so my friends would stop badgering me.

That simple excursion along one unremarkable neighborhood street inspired faith. I actually believed I could do it, and that belief changed everything. That’s called HOPE—an expectation based on faith. I believe God placed me in a situation that helped me discover hope.

Hope allowed me to breach an impenetrable barrier.

I couldn’t. And then I could.

Hope changes what’s possible.