Recently I was participating in the lectures at the Southside congregation in Pasadena, Texas. On Thursday morning a young man, Parker Jennings, was asked to lead the closing prayer. Before you say, “So what”, you need to know a few things about Parker.
Parker was born prematurely and as a result he needs a motorized wheelchair to navigate. He has no use of his legs. Also, his right hand has little function. Parker is twenty years old. He has a tremendous spirit and enthusiasm about him. He is very spiritually minded. Though Parker lives with physical limitations, his mind and spirit are strong. I have known him all his life and have never seen him down. He always has a smile on his face. At times I ask myself: who is the one who is limited?
Well, when Parker motored up to the microphone to lead a prayer, all anticipated and waited to pray with him. His prayer was eloquent, deep and moving. All present really felt like we were really before God. When Parker said “Amen” there was not a dry eye in the audience. His father, Tim, was standing beside me. We hugged each other. Tim’s eyes were filled with tears. Tears of joy and tears of appreciation. See, Parker’s parents do not see Parker as limited. All embraced Parker and Tim. It was one of life’s moments you never forget.
As I have reflected about that moment, I realized a few things. Things I may have already known but now stand out much better.
One thing I realized is that God does not care whether you can walk or ride in a wheelchair. If you are His child, you are His child. He cares. He provides. He rejoices over us. He does not see the physical limitations. He only sees the spiritual limitations.
Further, it is important to remember that, no matter our limitations, we can serve God. When we are consumed with what we cannot do as well as others, we stop seeing what God can do with us. God used Parker to help others see that we can serve God no matter what we have or do not have. Just because we can walk does not make us better. Just because one might have a beautiful voice does not make one better. Just because one can speak eloquently does not make one better. What God wants is for us to use what we have to serve Him and others.
Also, there was rejoicing with a young man who is alive. He is spiritually alive. He is a brother. There was no competitiveness. There was only rejoicing over how this young man prayed to God. I had to ask myself, am I like him? Am I humble or do I look for the attention? Do I truly appreciate the gift God has given or do I complain?
Well, the lectureship could have ended Thursday morning. It will be a moment I will remember. So will all who were there. When Parker was asked to lead the prayer, he was unsure, but when he spoke to God he was confident.