How does God provide for our needs when human efforts fail? God moved miraculously in Africa to meet the needs of disabled people.
Sometimes miracles happen in the most unusual places.
Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and those places can occasionally be back storage rooms where we store our wheelchairs on location during our Wheels for the World trips. Like the miracle that happened in Ghana, West Africa. It was nearly the end of the day and we had been fitting disabled people to their new wheelchairs all day long. I’ve shared with you before that sometimes we take chairs and we have to cut off the foot rests or shorten the back rests or widen seat supports, which can leave us with some pretty unusual chairs at the end of the day.
Well, as I said, it was near the close of our distribution when a disabled woman came in who needed a particularly large wheelchair. Our physical therapist checked her sheet and said, “Oh, I'm sorry, but we’re all out of large-sized wheelchairs.” Still, the woman with the disability begged and pleaded, asking us for a wheelchair, please. She was so insistent, and we dearly wanted to help her but — what could we say? There were no more large-sized wheelchairs left. Finally, just to appease her, our physical therapist walked into the back storage room where there were a few remaining chairs plus wheelchair tires and extra footrests, back supports and seat cushions. And, lo and behold, behind one pile sat a wheelchair. The therapist took a double take and was so surprised but, well, she must have missed it earlier on and so, that late afternoon, we were able to provide a large wheelchair and a Bible to this dear woman. She went away so happy.
But as she was leaving, another disabled person entered our distribution center. “I am so sorry,” our team members said, “but we’ve already given out all our wheelchairs.” The disabled person’s family explained that they had walked so far and couldn’t we help and wasn’t there something, anything we could do. Well, you never know, and so another team member went back into the storage room and, you’ll never guess — or maybe you will — yep, there was a chair back up against a side wall behind a door where no one had seen it before. We were amazed that God provided! And, in fact, a few jokes began circulating about multiplying the oil in the jar or the multiplying of loaves and fishes here with all these wheelchairs.
Finally, as we were cleaning up, one more family drove up in a taxi cab. They carried a man in on their arms, put him down in a plastic chair, and asked if they were too late. This time, they were and our team members told the family they were so sorry. Still, the family pleaded was there not something we could do. Well, we knew there were no more good wheelchairs left, but still, we went back into the storage area to rummage around. The only thing that was available was a wheelchair with no legs – it had no foot pedals and no leg supports. He wheeled it out and that’s when our jaws dropped. Why? Because the man was a double amputee. Talk about a miracle. That chair had obviously been pushed aside all day long, that is, until it was needed by this man with no legs. What it says about God in Psalm 113, verse 7 is so true, “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.”
Friend, miracles happen all the time on Wheels for the World trips and I'm happy to report that another Wheels team is in Ghana, West Africa, right now — so would you please pray over the many disabled people who will open their hearts to Christ for the first time? Pray for these kids and men and women who became Christians, because giving wheelchairs are one thing, but the real miracle is the miracle of salvation for these people all connected with Wheels for the World. And don’t forget I’d love to hear from you on my radio page at joniandfriends.org.
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