I watched as the teen took a seat in the chapel that we had converted into a mission-field prosthetics fitting room. He and his parents had waited long hours for this opportunity, and their expressions were marked with breathless anticipation.
He settled into the chair, stowed his crutches, then looked around – listening – watching – taking in all the commotion and bustle. A quiet, reserved sixteen-year-old, he tried to project a manly calm, but the uncertainties and unasked questions shadowed his countenance.
His father, sporting a large cowboy hat and a hearty smile, watched graciously while his mother stood by, keeping track of their belongings.
Paul exploded into the room with a southern effervescence that contrasted wildly with the quiet demeanor of the family trio. With the help of an interpreter, he explained the process of fitting the new prosthesis. In what seemed a whirlwind of motions, the boy slipped into his newly fabricated limb and Paul’s hands worked swiftly, expertly to make adjustments and re-adjustments. Then he casually asked if he had remembered to bring a pair of shoes along.
That’s when the boy’s mother opened a simple plastic bag, gently lifted the most beautiful pair of black leather shoes I’ve ever seen, and presented them to Paul as carefully as if she were holding her son’s feet in her hands.
I watched that transaction, and time slowed for a heartbeat as the weightiness of this family’s treasured moment sunk in. I regained my composure while the fitting continued, and it was soon time for him to try it out.
He rose, slowly shifting his weight to test the fit and the feel, and listened carefully to the initial instructions. As he stood there, he looked down and my eyes followed.
I saw two gorgeous, shiny shoes.
He saw two beautiful feet …
… and a future … and hope … and dignity… and restoration
The technicians and interpreter walked alongside to steady him, providing instructions and coaching each movement until it was just right. Several practice strides later, and still using a walker, he came directly to where I stood in the middle of the room, squared his shoulders and smiled this enormous, liberated-from-the-heart-kinda-smile that finally shattered all that quiet reserve.
And the room exploded in cheers and clapping as he let go of that walker and turned to walk -- totally unaided -- back to his father and mother.
Across the room his father watched. His face splintered into a million laugh-crinkles with each step his son took toward him. He stepped forward to receive him like someone awaiting a winner at the finish line, and together – father and son -- celebrated the victory. Those rough work-worn hands clapping his son on the back to convey congratulations and the sheer joy of a father’s heart.
As I watched this transaction unfold, I thought of another pair of hands, stretching out to their fullest extent while blood flowed down bringing with it the once-and-for-all washing away of all that keeps me broken, that keeps me in bondage; that keeps me separated from the Father God who loves me and humbled himself so I could be raised up to live forever! And I saw another pair of feet –wounded – rendered useless but only for a brief time until the necessary work of the cross was finished and death was trampled.
Because God came down. Because he walked this earth as a sinless man. Because He died. Because He rose again – because of His hands and His feet – we can live restored, forgiven, complete in Him.
And in Him we live, and move, and have ALL our being -- taking one step at a time while our Father watches, rejoicing in the victory of His Son.
Rod & De
[From De’s pen…]
One of the many stories of God at work performing transformations of grace and mercy in people’s lives as they received new or repaired prostheses at Hospital Shalom. 61 people – ages 3 to 76 – received prosthetic services during the six day, November 2012 Prosthetics Jornada.
Praise God for the servant hearts of the visiting prosthetics team: Brent Wright, Paul Sugg,and Tyler Sugg, (of EastPoint Prosthetics & Orthotics); Jason Bedford of DreamBox; and Frank Hodges from Sunstone Labs. – and for the entire missionary staff that worked this event.