Bright skies and warm temperatures drew the people to the park. It was a delicious day to be outdoors. Local merchants selling various items lined the park’s parameters. Within 10 minutes of arriving, Rachel noticed the park was full. Nearby a little girl squealed “he’s here!” released her mother’s hand, dimpled smile broke her face, curls bouncing as she raced towards the vendor who made animal shapes out of balloons. Rachel watch the child interact with the vendor as the mother stood close by. Lips twisted into a smirk. She envied the child who frolicked about unrestrained, unconcerned of how she appeared, following her desires without fear. Even as a girl, Rachel was never brave, never free with her feelings. Never willing to take risk. The accident that put her in this wheelchair where she would stay, left a bitter seed in Rachel’s heart. It cemented her fears. “Months of daily prayer and still I can’t walk. God has no use for me;” she reasoned.
Rachel paid small attention to the men who entered the park. Now her focus dragged from the child to the them as they spread out walking about. Then it came, in deafening rapid fire. Screams of terror filled the air. Bodies scattered for cover. Rachel’s hands gripped the wheels. Frantic, her eyes searched for the exits. Scores of people, pushing, trampling others as they mowed through the park’s exits. Her mind raced “I have to get out of here.” The barrage of gun fire went on and on. Blood streaming down the left side of her face; the woman darted about with the dimpled face little girl screaming alongside her. She staggered towards Rachel. Succumbing to her wounds she fell upon Rachel and rolled, her hands frantically gripped Rachel’s thighs. The child wailed as the gun fire continued. A gunman pursued. Rapidly approaching upon the three, pointing the gun. The child froze near Rachel’s chair, trembling, the girl gulped down her cries. Her Arm swung out; Rachel drew the child tight to her.
Eyes stared up pleading as Rachel stared back. “What can I do in this chair,? For this child? For this woman; she is hurt bad? I’m trapped in this chair. Oh Lord, we are all going to die;” Rachel muttered not know what to do or how. She felt the weight of her disability as terror raged around her. Rachel grasped the child mother’s hand. She groaned inward; fear made her deaf to the sounds about her. With certain death looming, Rachel shut eyes and prayed. Without ceasing, she prayed and prayed. (1 Thessalonians 5 :17) In Rachel’s hand the mother’s hand went limp. The child watched as the gunman abruptly turn, ran as police raced after him. One of the officers sprint towards them. His eyes quickly surveyed the area noting many wounded. The officer approach the limp body of the woman, frantically trying to revive her. Gathering the child into her embrace Rachel and the child wept.
Years have passed since that fateful day. Rachel watch the curls bounce about the young woman’s shoulders and dance along her back as she lifted her head to the skies watching the sea of caps fly about. The graduates squealed with ecstatic accomplishment. Now they would take on the world. The girl gave Rachel a wide dimpled smile. Rachel realized God had use for her. In her wheelchair on that frightful afternoon she placed all her faith in God; the same God whom she secretly felt had condemned her to that chair. Rachel cried, dreamed, found courage and dared to loved through the awkward painful years of raising Myka since her mother’s death. The same little girl Rachel envied became the young woman who a short moment ago had honored Rachel in her valedictorian speak. “My mom Rachel is so brave. She is fearless. She loves so openly, so giving. She is a woman of God, she taught me the power of prayer. My mom Rachel…..”
My Prayer: Almighty God and the great physician, remove the illness of bitterness and despair from the heart so the we can realized its full potential even within physical limitations. May we always turn to you when we have reached the confines of our abilities and trust that your will be done. We are all special in your sight; divinely fashion for purposes beyond our human understanding. I offer up this request for courage and acceptance, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV