This post was written by guest blogger, Kara Ferris.
There are many people who, when I share that I am very passionate about working with people who have disabilities, ask if I pray for them - if I’ve seen healing and miracles. Well, let me share with you a little bit about some of the people that I know:
Bryce. You sit so contently in the presence of your family. You tenderly hold your father’s hand; a young man of 19, you are unashamed to show and receive love. An incomplete spinal cord has made it impossible for you to use your legs, which sit still in the chair beneath you. Instead of running around, busy with things that consume you like so many of us often do, you have learned to be still and cherish every relationship that surrounds you.
Brooke. With severe autism, seeming not to know how to function in this society, Brooke doesn’t understand personal space. She doesn’t know a stranger; and she seems to gravitate towards those that others most often leave rejected and ignored, wanting to meet them, befriend them, ask them for a kiss on the back of her hand.
Our sweet little Brycen. Your parents don’t see the negative in Down syndrome. Instead, they celebrate your every milestone, your sweet love for Jesus, and refer to that 13th chromosome, not as a syndrome but the gift that you’ve been given as the extra chromosome of worship! I’m learning from them to appreciate, instead of criticize, to embrace my own children and celebrate their differences.
Robert. At 32, a motivational speaker, you’ve become a role model for many others who have Down syndrome, as well as for those of us who do not. You inspire everyone, and tell them that they can grow up to be just like you, not because you think more of yourself than you really should, but because you are secure in knowing who God created you to be. I wish I could be so secure and live up to my God-given potential the way it is happening in you.
Justin. Diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, which involves a severe mental delay, causes him to behave more like a 2 year old than the 17 year old that he is in his 6 foot tall, 200 pound body. The unusual trait of the “syndrome” is that he has an unusually happy demeanor, engaging smile and frequent laughter. He’s reminded me of the joy of experiencing a noogie, laughing without inhibition at silly things like Sponge Bob, and taking the time to savor the connection that is made with him so quickly, kissing away his booboos. Not only is it important to give Justin love, but to receive his love as well. I think we all need a touch of Angelman Syndrome.
Sarah’s parents were told that she wouldn’t live, and so they brought her home from the hospital, with hydrocephalus, physical anomalies, emergency after emergency procedures, choosing instead to focus on the future that only God could give. Now, at 26, Sarah knows that each and every life around her is one that deserves to be cherished and prayed for; going into nursing homes and visiting the lonely, sharing God’s love to the forgotten, and at the end of the day, she appreciates every sunset with deepest gratitude, as if God created them just for her. Sarah, you’ve taught me to live in the moment and cherish what I have been given.
Joni Earickson Tada, a woman I’d call one of my greatest heroes. I’ve wiped her nose, cut up her food, and worked right alongside of her. I’ve learned about full and complete surrender, totally yielding to wherever God will take you, doing whatever it is that he is calling you to do, while knowing at the same time that it could never be accomplished in my own strength. She has built a ministry that touches millions of lives through Joni, and it all happened after she became paralyzed from the neck down. I have used my own healthy legs far too often to carry me down a path that has led me away from God’s will for my life, rather than toward it.
And finally, Nick Vujicic. No arms and no legs, the smallest man I’ve ever known, yet with the biggest heart and an even greater spirit, who exudes so much hope that God is using him to touch the world! Doors in Muslim countries are swinging wide open to receive him, as well as in the Mormon Tabernacle where they have welcomed him in. People by the hundreds of thousands are receiving Jesus Christ as their personal Savior because without arms and legs, Nick cannot focus on his physical appearance, his physique, building up his ego. He’s chosen not to be bitter about what he does not have. Instead, he is focused on revealing our Father’s heart for his children, because that is what he has pursued and that’s exactly what God has given him. Makes my complaining about my aging body seem rather frivolous.
So, when I’m asked if I’ve prayed for healing for my friends and if I have seen miracles happen, my answer would have to be, yes, yes, I have. And because of the Sovereignty of our God and who He is, the miracles and healing have not only happened in the lives of my friends, but I’ve found that they are also happening in me.