Sunday, March 23, 2014
No Good Option
I met a man outside a local chain pharmacy ten days ago. Earlier that day, I had ordered some pictures to be developed from my camera's memory card and I was there to pick them up. He was in a wheelchair and told me he had been hit by a car while riding a bicycle; he didn't tell me how old he was when it happened. He asked if I were a preacher- I was wearing my cross outside my shirt- and I told him I teach Bible at Westbury Christian School. He then told me something that really floored me. This guy I just met told me he can't read or write. My guess is that he is in his 40s. I was shocked- I'm so used to working with educators and kids who are excellent readers, even in kindergarten, that the thought of an illiterate American shocked me.... but it shouldn't. Ironically, the pictures I picked up will go out in letters tomorrow to family and friends who support me in my work to improve English skills.... in Vietnam.
As I drove away, I asked myself which situation the man faced would be hardest for me to deal with personally, the inability to walk or the illiteracy. Truthfully, I can't fathom either option since I've been walking and reading since my memories began. I mean, what would I do if confined to a wheelchair? On the other hand, I tried to grasp what I would miss if I couldn't read or write, which I do most of my waking moments! In class this past week, we took notes over the paralyzed man brought to Jesus, carried by four friends and let down through the roof of a house to gain access to the Savior. We note that the first thing Jesus did WAS NOT heal him, the obvious reason for the man's coming, but the Master forgiving the man's sins. I make the point that Jesus took care of the biggest issue first. After I state it like that, I ask the kids what the lame man's # 1 problem was, paralysis or sin? They correctly answer sin but I'm not sure that's what he was thinking as he was being lowered in front of the man he hoped could set him free from his handicap.
As we look at the story, I tell the students about my nearly cutting off my thumb when I was working at York College. I share what the orderly said when he took the towel off of my hand ('OH MY GOD!') and how that did not help my demeanor at all. I ask them what they thought my reaction would have been if the doctor had come into the emergency room and wanted to take care of a mosquito bite on my face instead of the possible losing of a thumb or going into shock from blood loss. They think that's pretty funny. The good doctors always addresses the biggest need first and of course, Jesus was The Great Physician. I ask the kids, without raising their hands, what the biggest issue is in their life and throw out that it might not be what the world would expect. But God knows and Jesus died to provide the cure. And you don't have to go to WALGREENS to fill the prescription.... but you do need to see the doctor.
Applicable quote of the day:
“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.”
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Posted by Steve Hawley at 9:41 PM