Friday, June 3, 2011

Wonder Again

A recent article I wrote for Crosswalk told the story of a doctoral student at Notre Dame who put his degree program on hold for a year to help care for his brother.

Andrew Helms had been studying in Indiana when he learned that his youngest sibling, Peter, had been seriously injured in an automobile accident here in Texas. Andrew flew home as fast as he could and his advisers at Notre Dame eventually offered him a year's deferment so he could help his family develop an intensive rehabilitation regimen for his brother.

The accident rendered Peter minimally-conscious, which meant that while he wasn't technically a quadriplegic, he lacked the ability to communicate between his brain and his limbs. He can't talk or voluntarily move his body, except for his eyes.  And even that's after repetitive instruction and coaxing.

Although his condition may seem hopeless, doctors have actually been encouraged by improvements they've detected in his body since the accident, which happened almost one year ago. Unfortunately, Peter's progress hasn't been significant enough to qualify him for any of the institutional therapy programs covered by insurance, so the family has undertaken the Herculean task of performing daily physical therapy for Peter themselves at home. And Andrew has been one of the principle therapy providers.

I had asked Andrew to describe what it was like to see his brother so helpless, and he provided a stirring picture of how, even in a physically broken state, we're still whole in Christ.  Mortally, Peter may not ever be much more than he is today, a potential reality the family fights hard to ignore.  Eternally, however, through God's grace, he's complete in the finished work of Jesus.  And that should give us all hope.  Not only for Peter and his family, but for ourselves as well. 

The article was posted back on Tuesday, May 17, and quickly racked up a respectable number of readership hits. But then, like all Internet content, it began to age, and newer content began bumping it down the list of articles on Crosswalk's singles channel. That's what happens online.

Surprisingly, however, people still keep discovering it. Several new comments have been added recently, and today, I received some personal feedback from a friend in my Bible study who had just read the article. Several years ago in Georgia, she had been seriously injured in an automobile accident, and had to re-learn how to walk. She commented today that her doctors have described her survival as a miracle. Which probably has been said of Andrew's brother, Peter, too.

My friend from Bible study walks with a subtle limp, which I suppose could be a perpetual reminder to her about what God has done in sparing her life.  Andrew's brother, Peter, faces a future far less certain, as his recovery, if up until now has been any indication, will be agonizingly slow.

Yet every day, don't miracles happen that aren't nearly as dramatic as being plucked from the grip of death?  God is still good in those non-sensational times too, isn't He?  In those miracles we may not even see, or which we take for granted. And in those miracles which to us take forever to unfold.

While I worked on Andrew and Peter's story, obviously, I thought about it a lot. And since then, I've let it slip from my consciousness. Like articles aging on the Internet, that's what happens as life marches on, and new experiences come our way.

I hope we can appreciate, however, the times when we're called to recollect and wonder again at all that God has done for His people.

And thank Him that He's still the same as He was yesterday, as He is right now, and as He will be tomorrow.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!
Praise Him, all creatures here below!
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly host!
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!


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