by Tony Thomas

This content is part of a series.

Strong At the Broken Places (14)
Series: Life Verses
Tony Thomas
2 Corinthians 12:9

Max Cleland grew up in Lithonia, GA and he graduated from Stetson University in 1964. Then he joined the Army and he was deployed to Viet Nam. Cleland rose to the rank of Captain and he was awarded the Silver and Bronze Star for valor in action.

During the siege of Khe Sanh Cleland was ordered to set up a radio relay station on Hill No. 471. When his helicopter landed Cleland jumped out with two other soldiers. They ducked beneath the rotors and watched their chopper take off. Then he noticed a grenade on the makeshift landing pad. He assumed the grenade had fallen from his flak jacket. He bent over to pick it up when it detonated and the blast shredded both legs and his right arm.

You can read that story in his 1981 book, Strong At the Broken Places. His worst moment, however, would come later. His former girlfriend came to town for a visit. She remembered him as a handsome, 6' 2'' athlete! But as she approached his wheelchair pitched forward and he fell into the gutter!

In his own words:

''I flailed helplessly like a fish out of water. Two men rushed up and lifted me back into my wheelchair, but my former girlfriend was hysterical! The shame and embarrassment of the spill seared me like a burn that throbbed. Is this what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life?''

But Max Cleland's story was just beginning! He returned home to Lithonia, he learned to walk with artificial limbs and drive a specially designed car, and he learned to live independently.

Then he entered the world of politics. In 1976, Jimmy Carter was elected President. Carter named him as head of the Veterans' Administration. Twenty years later, he was elected as a United States Senator from Georgia.

2 Corinthians 12:

9 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's pow ...

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