Marsha was a Vacation Bible School teacher who demanded that every child obey the rules, except her own son. I’d looked forward to working with her; but I had not counted on her obvious favoritism regarding Johnny’s behavior. Even though I knew that he had some severe learning disabilities, I confronted her about her treatment of her son. Without emotions, she had told me, “Johnny is not able to obey in the same way as the other children. I know my son. He does the best he can.”
We moved from the city before the year was over. I don’t know what happened to Johnny. I’ve seen other mothers who have performed like Marsha. For the past 22 years, I’ve been immersed in a population where many mothers within the mentally challenged community are equally as perceptive. Over the years, I’ve marveled that these “pampered, overly indulged” children, often make the best adults.
Once removed from the competition and hurts of a classroom of other children, these people blossom and shine. More than once, I’ve heard a mother explain, “But I know how she feels. I’ve seen her heart. There’s a lot more than you can see.”
I know of no better modern-day picture of practical redemption than Marsha’s treatment of Johnny. Not content to only give him birth, love and nurture, Marsha was determined to meet his needs. Even in the face of criticism and misunderstanding, she would spare no expense to pay the price to see he grew into a well-adjusted adult. It was a lifetime commitment for Marsha; but she didn’t flinch from the difficult task.
Strong but tender, bold but caring, Jesus paid the price to buy back his creation. I’m glad that He knows my heart and He doesn’t allow me to be tempted above that which I’m able to withstand. I’m glad He knows my heart and when I fail, He picks up the pieces through forgiveness and redemption.