Hope you’re having an awesome, praise-filled, joyous, heart-full-of-thanks day! And if you’re not, maybe I can help! Just by reminding you that you are a child of the living God, the King of kings! And that He is working out a beautiful plan for you because He loves you so much! You’re His because He wanted you before the world was ever made! And what Jesus came to do was to buy you (that’s what “redeem” means) so you could be His! He really and specifically wanted you!
Seriously, don’t you just need from time to time for someone who loves you to remind you of how Jesus sees you?
You had a hard day at work and maybe got someone upset without meaning to…you remember something you shouldn’ta done but you done did…something you should’ve said but didn’t…maybe there’s an old memory rattlin’ around in yer noggin of something that somebody said about you that you can’t seem to shake…and we have an invisible enemy who doesn’t help at all, always trying to remind us of famous failures and flops of the past…
It helps when someone simply tells you how the One Who matters most sees you!
Y’all know Joni Earickson Tada, right? She became a quadriplegic at seventeen and has had a world-wide ministry to the disabled (and the rest of us!) for forty years. She is th’ bomb! Insightful…encouraging…She’s what the last book of the Bible calls, an “overcomer”!
One of the million ways God has used her is to distribute wheelchairs around the world in countries that are so poor, paraplegics and others who need them don’t normally have them. Once Joni and her amazing team were doing a wheelchair distribution in a tiny village in Uganda called Nyarushanje. A Ugandan woman explained that her husband, Sema, had fallen from a tree and broken his right leg and hip. He had also suffered a severe brain injury in the fall. While she told his story, he just sat there with his face pointed down, his chin sunken into his chest…silent. He was almost in a catatonic state, Joni observed…non communicative, ”shrunken and frozen”.
He hadn’t spoken…or been spoken to…in years. His wife didn’t even try anymore. She cared for him but didn’t converse with him.
“What’s the use? He isn’t talking back.”
One the team, a guy named Dana, shared with them that those with brain injuries really need what they seem to care least about. They need someone to talk to. Or at least, someone who will talk to them.
Dana, the Joni and Friends volunteer, lifted Sema’s face and began to speak to him. He told him things everyone who loves Jesus needs to hear…
…that he was a man like anyone else…
…that he was an equal and a brother…
…that God loved him and that Jesus died for him…
…that he wasn’t disabled because God was angry or punishing him, but that God valued him deeply…
People thought Dana was nuts. Until…
Sema woke up! He began to move his hands, look around and smile at everyone! He even laughed! And he spoke! He broke his silence and spoke for the first time in years! The two guys were hugging and the tears were flowing!
As Sema began to try out wheelchairs, he reached over once more for a hug. He pulled Dana close and whispered in his ear in perfect English…
“You are my brother and my friend, and God loves me!”
You know, Joni figured that initially, Dana spoke encouragement to silent Sema for two minutes before the miracle happened. I was having a crummy day yesterday for a little while. Then on the phone somebody spoke encouragement to me and told me God loved me and that I was precious to Him.
Probably lasted two minutes. Best two minutes of the day! Which got decidedly better after that!
It made me want to tell him, “You’re my friend and my brother…”
“And God loves me!”