From my seat in the choir loft, I watched a young man named John sitting quietly in the back pew. It was time for the offering. As one of the ushers stepped up to John, he smiled his beautiful smile, reached out his hand and dropped his coins into the plate. I realized I was witnessing one of God’s miracles.
Several years ago, Susan, John’s personal support worker, first brought him to church. John stumbled in, barely able to walk. He sat with his head down and made strange loud noises. Unable to connect with people, John required constant attention. Susan sat with him, taking him out when his sounds became too distracting. Since then, Susan, David and their teenage son, Timothy, have loved John into life. The journey started with Susan doing the job she was paid to do. She gave the severely disabled John respite care in their home. But Susan and her family stepped far beyond any required effort. I can only imagine the patience, courage and faith that they have poured into their ministry with John. John has been redeemed.
Walking will never be easy for him. He can still get carried away and make his strange loud noises. But John laughs, and his eyes are alive. The Sunday service over, I watched John walk out to the church hall, smiling and nodding to congregational members who spoke to him. His speech is limited to single words now and then. He greets my husband with, “Guitar”, because from the beginning, Tom has allowed John to hold his guitar.
I celebrate John. I celebrate Susan and her family, and their ministry of love; and I celebrate our welcoming congregation. God has received our small gift of acceptance and blessed us with being part of a big miracle. I’m sure that for Susan and her family, there have been, and still are, many times of frustration and exhaustion. With God’s help, they have persisted in loving John. For all of us, the harvest is amazing.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)