Life is full of surprises. And sometimes you get a blessing from a place you least expect it.
That happened to me today.
My husband and I–along with a friend–visited an older man from our church at the VA Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina. We’d never met him before.
We entered his tidy room with an attractive wood floor. He sat in his computer chair while we made our introductions. Jesus hats were placed on a display shelf along with pictures of his family.
“I’ve had three different kinds of cancer. The last one took my arm.”
The hour and a half flew by. He smiled a lot. So did we. We laughed and prayed, too.
“When I was six years old, a preacher visited my father in the field at our dairy farm and asked if I could attend Bible School at his church. At first, Dad said no but after 45 minutes he agreed just so he could get back to work. The catch was the preacher had to pick me up and take me home.”
He went on to tell of how his family ended up that attending church and coming to know the Lord. I wondered if the preacher that spent 45 minutes in a field ever knew the little boy who he picked up from Bible School went on to be both a preacher and a missionary.
The older man went on, “I try to enjoy myself and be involved. I’ve figured out how to move this thing around in circles, and back and forth.” He pointed to the motorized wheelchair. “So the other night, a little girl visited, along with her doll, Marianne.”
He smiled and leaned forward. “I had them attach the doll to my chair and I pretended to dance with her all around the hall. Everyone laughed and clapped.”
“But when Marianne the doll winked at me, that just cracked me up!” He threw his head back and cackled. So did we.
Soon it was time to go. As we walked out, he stopped us.
“I just want to tell you one more thing. At first, when they took off my arm, I had trouble, but then, I felt the Lord wanted me to praise Him for the loss of my arm. It took a while, but when I did, I got my joy back.”
I’ve paraphrased his words but I won’t forget them. In fact, when I arrived home, I shared them with my 94-year-old mama. We figured we should praise Him, too. Not just because we have two arms, but for all of God’s blessings and trials–which are blessings in disguise.
And we did.
And we had joy.
Thanks for that blessing, Ron.