You may have seen one of these emotional and inspirational videos before. That’s OK. Watch it again.

Dick and Rick Hoyt’s Story

The journey of Dick and Rick Hoyt is one of the most wonderful heart-string-pulling stories you have probably ever heard or seen. During birth, Rick Hoyt’s umbilical cord wrapped around his throat, depriving him of oxygen. Doctors diagnosed Rick with spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy. Doctors told his father, Dick, that he might as well file Rick away because he would never be able to have anything resembling a normal life. They were very wrong.

Dick and Judy Hoyt raised their son with as normal a life as they possibly could even though he could not walk or speak. They noticed his eyes would follow them around the room and eventually through modern technology were able to communicate with their son. Despite being confined to a wheel chair and only being able to communicate via an interactive computer, Rick went on to graduate high school and later received a degree in Special Education from Boston University.

However, that’s not all there is to this story…

In 1977, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile run to benefit a high school student who had been paralyzed in an accident. Dick agreed to try his best and pushed Rick in his wheelchair to the finish-line of the race. Rick then said something that would forever change his family’s life… he said, “Dad… when I’m running, it feels like my disability disappears.” This started Team Hoyt.

Since then they have competed in over 1,000 races, which include marathons (26.2 miles), duathlons,  and triathlons… 6 of which were Ironman Triathlons (2.4 swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run). They also biked and ran across the entire U.S.A for a distance of 3,735 miles in 45 days.

Team Hoyt Videos

Below are two videos about Team Hoyt. You may read more about their story and access their official website at Http://www.teamhoyt.com

How Hard are You Willing to Work for Your Family?

That is the question that kept reverberating through my mind and heart as I watched the videos for the 100th time. I bet Dick Hoyt did / does not focus on the “sacrifice he made for his son”, but instead celebrates the joy and fruits that resulted from his willingness to work hard.

From the videos you can see and only imagine the extent of the physical, mental, and emotional pain he endured to prepare for and complete those events with his son. It definitely was not easy. Training for an Ironman Triathlon is difficult WITHOUT adding 115lbs to the journey.

  • How hard are you willing to work for your marriage and family?
  • How much are you willing to “sacrifice” in your pursuit of a holy and fulfilling marriage?
  • How much are you willing to get over yourself, your urges, your discomfort, or your desires to serve, protect, honor, and love your spouse?
  • How disciplined are you willing to live in order to guard your and your spouse’s hearts, eyes, and minds?

Our “sacrifice” is really just submitting to Christ’s promises and His design for our lives. In our “sacrifice” we are able to truly experience the blessings He intends as we trust the Creator deeply knows His creation… us. He intentionally designed us, so he knows how we should “work”… and even gave an instruction manual (the Bible).

  • It is not easy to keep your mind and eye pure and guarded from sexual imagery.
  • It is not easy and can be uncomfortable to “lead” your spouse in prayer and in reading the word, especially when you feel she is on a different “spiritual level”.
  • It is not easy to always prioritize date night over working late or flopping on the bed to zone out in front of the boob tube.
  • It is not easy to awkwardly work through issues in your marriage and focus on communicating better with your spouse.
  • It is not easy to apologize when you know you are wrong.

All these actions are SIMPLE, but not necessarily easy. So what? Work. Work hard. When it is uncomfortable and painful, work harder, while praying along the way. God does not call us to live a life of comfort. The fruits for this work are truly unfathomable into eternity. The results of this work can make your marriage a haven, create a legacy, impact generations, and change the world.

I have heard many stories about couples faced with the trials of cancer or paralysis. I know working through that is cannot be easy. Those scenarios are often couples’ deepest fears. One thing I do know is investing and pouring into your marriage and relationship with God is the ONLY thing that can possibly prepare you for the journey. Regardless of the past, you can (and should) start that today… and continue it tomorrow. Excuses are both plentiful and irrelevant. Which of those excuses will you rationalize to God when you stand in front of Him one day?

Even better, you do not have to do the work alone. You are called to joyfully endure the journey with your spouse, your church, and your brothers and sisters in Christ. If that is not enough, God has equipped you with the divine Counselor… literally the power of the Living God in the Holy Spirit.

Quick Side Note from Jesus

I do not know if the Hoyts are Christian. I hope they love Jesus, just as I hope anyone loves Jesus. Nonetheless, this story contains a great example of Christ’s words from John 9:1-5

1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. 4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. 5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
John 9:1-5 (NLV)

Discussion Questions

  • Where have you gotten lazy in your marriage? You probably know what you need to do about it… so do it!
  • How do you need to become more disciplined in loving and serving your spouse?
  • How can you show your spouse you are dedicated to working hard for and in your marriage?