Yesterday, upon leaving the retirement community where we conduct services, we encountered a man sitting in a wheelchair whom we'd never met. He looked at us with an excited smile and said, "My name is Alfred. Can I have a hug?" The aide with Alfred gave us a knowing smile, indicating that this is a common greeting he bestows upon people he meets. We gladly responded because it was evident that Alfred is a special person who has lived a lifetime perhaps not knowing and experiencing things familiar to most people, but who seems to have discovered certain realities we all know to be blessed and desirable.
"God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty" (I Corinthians 1:27).
We will likely be stunned upon our arrival in Heaven by that which our Lord considers to be most important, most valuable, and most to be sought after. I firmly believe, for example, that many people like Alfred who never have the opportunity to live life in what we might call "normal" conditions and circumstances, nevertheless experience internal glories of heart, perception and reality far beyond anything the average person knows. I've shared with you before my experience of standing behind a mother and her child in a grocery story checkout line. The little girl had Downs Syndrome, but she was all smiles and all devoted to communicating with me in genuine joy and exuberance. As we enjoyed our brief moment of fellowship, in my heart I asked our Heavenly Father, "Bless this child, Lord." The thought instantly came to mind that if the Lord were to respond to me audibly, He'd simply say, "Glen, You don't even have to ask." Indeed, it would be just like the God revealed in Scripture to bestow sublime and hidden glories to those whom He allows to experience life in ways that doubtless involve great challenge, but which also grant special wonders of Himself.
Before departing from Alfred yesterday, he had given both Frances and I two hugs, and a hearty "God bless you." He'd actually given far more, of course. As I shared with a friend this morning, Alfred emanated a bright and shining light from his wheelchair, and far more, from his heart. I have no doubt as to the Source of such beautiful illumination. Surely, our new friend has experienced challenges in a lifetime that does not include many blessings you and I experience. Some day, however, I'm confident that a glorified Alfred will be able to tell us of wonders of the Lord Jesus Christ he discovered during his earthly sojourn that you and I couldn't even imagine. Our blessed Lord is drawn to need, and we can be sure that He does in fact commune with truly special people like Alfred in a most special way of love and affection. Yes, indeed, it would be just like our Lord to bestow such grace, wouldn't it?
"My strength is made perfect in weakness."(II Corinthians 12:9)