by Brad Mowry
“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” Mark 2:11-12
The crowd had gathered to get a closer look at Jesus – to listen to his authoritative preaching firsthand. They hadn’t expected to get a picture that would blow their mind.
This is so much of what we are doing and the ripple effects of impact are felt all around what we do as people are watching.
I had a glimpse of this several years ago. My 18-year-old daughter, Hannah, has cerebral palsy and the church we attended had arranged for several women to rotate in spending the service will Hannah so my wife and I could attend worship.
“I’ve got to tell you a story!” the woman who was with Hannah for this particular Sunday said. She went on to tell a story of an older man who walked in to the church with tears in his eyes and told her that he’d never seen anything like what he saw in the parking lot.
I searched my mind, “What amazing thing had I done?” I wondered.
“I’ve never seen brothers care for their sister like that,” he said, hot tears filling his eyes.
I recounted the morning: my wife was already in the nursery, so I had the kids (only 4 at that time). I got out and started the wheelchair lift. Eli took over while I went to get Micah out of his car seat. Isaac backed Hannah off the lift, wiping drool from her mouth. Eli raised the lift back to the van, then we were off and heading to the door.
I couldn’t figure it out – that’s just living for us. But to this man, who sat in his car each week while his wife attended the service, he saw love in a powerful way through a little girl who couldn’t walk, talk, or wipe her own mouth.
A similar thing happened in that house in Capernaum 2,000 years ago. Jesus impacted a man and did it “in full view of them all.”
We now have the chance to do the same. I firmly believe that when we love our friends with disabilities – in full view of them all – there is a powerful impact. The world is watching and when Young Life, and the Church care for the “overlooked and ignored” (Matt. 25:40, MSG) people are amazed.