As I prepare for each of my visits to the rehabilitation center I pray for the ministry of God’s love and reconciliation unto Him to provide hope and light to the dear ones staying there. I never quite know what to expect as each encounter is quite unique. Sometimes I leave feeling rather unconvinced that the ministry touched anyone at all. Most of the time it seems that the music touches hearts and that the word of God is understood by at least some. But oh, I am so thankful for those other, unexpected, beautiful, God ordained appointments; those days when God’s presence is so strong and the response so great. The day I met *Bryan was one of those days.
I was setting up my equipment for the next hour of ministry through song and guitar when one of the dear women in the activities department approached me with a request. She pointed out to me a young man in a wheelchair who was in the audience that day, a resident. His name was Bryan and he was hungry for the things of God and the Bible, she informed me. She asked me if I would reach out to him before I leave and encourage him. What focused love and provision that God had arranged this encounter with Bryan this day. Confirmation is such an inspiration to me in my efforts. Of course I was eager to speak with him and to share God’s love and comfort. As I sang and spoke of Jesus and his amazing grace and love, His incredible goodness, I watched Bryan’s countenance respond as the songs seemed to say what was in his heart. He seemed to hang on every word that spoke of his God. I met him when the service was over and listened to his testimony.
Bryan shared with me some difficult background and the circumstances that lead to his stay at the rehabilitation center. I had to strain to hear him as his breathing was labored and dependent on additional oxygen. He had arrived at the point where the anguish in his heart and brokenness in his life left him wanting to die. He told me of a powerful dream and in it took place a battle for his life. He perceived that Jesus was the answer. Now, after finding life and hope in Jesus, he wanted only to live! Bryan was thoroughly convinced of God’s existence and His goodness. He could plainly see the events of his life, looking back, and how they ultimately walked him right into a saving relationship with Jesus. His testimony had a lot of tragedy woven into it. Yet he was vibrant with the love of God. Here was this young man who was clinging to life, who was dependent on machines and a wheelchair and the constant care of the medical staff, speaking words of hope and life to me. He believed in God’s plan for his life and asked for prayer to walk again, to regain strength to live his whole life and live it well. He held no hint of bitterness or despair. God was good and he trusted Him. This was enough for him to have fullness of joy.
As I drove away that day, my heart was full and I was humbled. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that God had set up the appointment between Bryan and me and Him. I was going to be praying for his healing and for his future ministry to others through his testimony. I’ve seen Brian only two other times since that first encounter. Once, we were able to talk and share again. His heart was moved to ask for prayer for healing and rescue for a woman he’d met there at the center. He seemed desperate that she be saved and made well. This confirmed what I already believed to be true about Bryan’s life – that he has a specific ministry in God’s kingdom, as a light to the hurting and lost.
I do not know what became of Bryan’s health or living situation. He seemed so very frail and weak to me. These things I observed through my eyes of flesh. However, this is exactly when God says He is made most strong in us; His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Bryan seemed to understand this fully well. Maybe I’ll see Bryan again someday on this earth, whole and well, working heartily for the Lord. Most definitely I’ll see him again someday whole and well in the presence of the Lord.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
*I have changed the name of the young man in this story to protect his privacy.