Just a few days ago a sister in Christ shared with Reta and me one of the most heart-warming and touching stories I have heard in a long time.
Lula Downs is a member of our church, Bellepoint Baptist, in Frankfort (USA), and it is noticeable that she has a special love for children and gift for working with them.
As Reta and I discussed her ministry for children, she shared how God has prepared her for this. It was through her long care for her son, Steven Mitchell. When he was only two days old, he had a medical procedure which caused a blood change and high temperature.
At the age of 12 months, she and her husband got the heart-breaking news that he had cerebral palsy. This is a debilitating disease which prevents normal motor mechanism and speech. It sentences its victim to a life much different from a healthy child. And so they knew that Steven would be unable to walk and talk.
But Lula saw in this little boy an opportunity for her to share her love and care-giving. So she prayed that the Lord would let him live and she would have a special privilege of giving him every possible advantage.
And so Lula did just that. Though he was severely handicapped, she saw to it that he could participate in everything other children did. She took him to church and Sunday school.
When other kids rode tricycles, though his little legs were not normal, she put him on one. When other kids rode bicycles, she put Steven on one and pushed him along. When other kids played sports, she took him out and helped him share in the fun. But Steven could not talk.
Steven became a happy little boy. He smiled a lot and pointed his fingers in a way that showed that he knew much about what was going on around him. And he showed an interest in worship at church.
Once when an invitation was given for people to acknowledge Christ publicly, tears filled his eyes. Although it went no further, Lula knew that her little boy was thinking about the gospel. But he could not talk.
God left Steven in the Downs’ home until he was 26 years old. He remained happy and playful all his years. He was especially precious to Lula who cared for him all these years. She loved him dearly and he was a wonderful blessing to her. But he could not talk.
Then the time came for Steven’s spirit to move from its crippled body on to another world. And then an amazing thing happened — the little boy who had never talked, just before he died said distinctly, ‘I am coming!’
His mother believed, and believes, that he was looking into the face of the Lord whom he knew personally. He was saying this to Jesus and the angels: ‘I am coming!’
And so, Lula and many of us believe that this little boy is now with the Lord, whom he met when he stated in his dying breath that he was coming.
I hope all who read this little report have an assurance that when they die, they too will know that they are going to heaven.
John F. Thornbury