In the "we took way too long to start it" category are the monthly church prayer meetings that began in January (and will repeat every fourth Sunday at 10AM instead of Bible study). Although other items were also brought before the Lord, one request especially stood out—Diane’s need for an operation that might finally stem the tide (actually reverse it) when it comes to the progressive damage multiple sclerosis has been doing to her body. Over the past couple months, Rick has been sharing the amazing results of a new treatment called the Liberation Procedure, and after one recent service Rick explained how this is one case where they just cannot "go it alone." The Davis family needs our help.
Diane’s condition, and that of others in our area in similar circumstances, has inspired our church to start a new ministry called Diane’s Miracle, which will focus on reaching out to those in the community who are shut-in or otherwise have significant difficulty getting out-and-about. Teaming up with local businesses, organizations, churches, and others, we will be leading the charge on sharing Jesus’ compassion for these individuals in concrete ways. I am reminded how, instead of reacting in anger when overzealous companions punched a hole in the roof in order to lower their friend to Him, our Lord showed sympathy and said words the paralytic probably never expected to hear (let alone be able follow): "Rise, pick up your bed and go home" (Matthew 9:6, English Standard Version). This isn’t the only time Jesus surprised an invalid with a similar command, and in the case of the man by the pool called Bethesda—who was paralyzed for thirty-eight years—Jesus sought him out. (Scripture notes, unlike the one whose healing was at the expense of a roof, this poor soul had no one to help him.) Just envision how you would react if after nearly four decades of being wholly dependent on the kindness of others you suddenly hear the words, "Get up, take up your bed and walk" (John 5:8). The Apostle John then records, "And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked" (John 5:9).
Like that second man, there are many in our region who do not have family or friends who work around any obstacle to get them what they need (sometimes because those individuals don’t exist, sometimes because they are unable or unwilling). Together, let’s find these shut-ins, and (with the help of the community) provide them with whatever they need, whether it be prayers, visits, financial help, food, or something like strong arms to mow their lawn—yes, I am thinking positively :-). We’ll start slowly, but we need to be as fervent as the first paralytic’s friends—minus punching holes in people’s roofs. 🙂
Fundraising has already begun to generate the $12,000 needed to allow Diane to receive the promising operation in the first half of 2011 (you may have already seen some of the donation buckets around town). Additionally, we’ve already started a web site for the project, http://www.dianesmiracle.org/, along with a Facebook "cause" page (be sure to go like it), and a Twitter handle (@dianesmiracle). No, there is no expectation that she’ll be able to "take up [her] bed and walk" afterward, but you can imagine that after more than two decades of losing the war with this debilitating disease how the likely promise of winning at least one large battle holds such great hope for Diane, Rick, and their family.
I know, considering how small our church is, a ministry like this can seem a frightening and overwhelming task. Please just remember this not our ministry, it is God’s…and, "with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26). Get ready to see miracles…starting with "Diane’s Miracle."