“When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.” (Psalm 91:15)
My friend Joan is a remarkable lady.
She wakes up each morning to find herself bound to the wheelchair that MS forced her into many years ago. Joan has the brightest smile, twinkling eyes, and a deep love for Christ. For some reason that none of us understand, the Lord has not allowed her to know physical healing. I would write a different story for my friend.
Whenever I get to visit with Joan, my own heart realizes incredible joy. I try to explain to her how deeply she impacts me, how her bravery infuses me with courage, how her gifts to me far outweigh any trinket I bring though her door. It is hard to put into words what I gain when I spend time with her. While she sits motionless beside me, Joan wraps me tightly in her love.
I meet with Jesus when I meet with Joan.
How do I even clarify that? Although she is unaware that his beauty and gentleness radiate from her, somehow the Lord pours himself through my friend. Within the confines of her everyday world, her loving husband and caregivers look after her every need. Joan can do nothing for herself. And yet, the God of heaven and earth is seen, and felt, and known in a profound way through her existence.
Joan’s response to what God has allowed reinforces this inexplicable promise in Scripture: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). In the midst of a life that should be defined by weakness, is the undeniable power of the living God.
I long for healing for my friend, and I pray for it continually. I will not stop asking the Lord to give her the grace to overcome, the strength to endure, and the hope that he is hearing and answering each cry on her behalf.
And I will continue to enjoy the friendship of a lady who helps me to encounter Jesus here on earth.
Elizabeth A Mitchell
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