When Jesus Got Wings
By Andrew Froemming
During my growing-up years I tended to think of Jesus in the abstract. I was told that there was a Jesus and that He had come to earth two thousand years ago to save me from my sin. I would hear stories of him recounted to me at church and in family worships. When I heard those stories it was easy for me to conjure up mental pictures of the stories.
As I became an adult, maintaining my spirituality based on the stories I had heard became difficult. I was being forced out of my childhood mental paradigm where everything was centered on the expectation that life was always rosy and you would always be provided for in a socially acceptable way.
Today when I read the Bible I understand it differently than I did as a kid. Growing up, Jesus was something of a superhero in the sense that He did all these great miracles with super-human power, even defeating the devil. But then He left earth and all I had were the stories that had been passed down through generations. Today as I read my Bible I still see Jesus as a spiritual superhero but I also see Jesus as much more than just an impersonal figure from long ago for me to idolize. I see a Jesus who did amazing works years ago and I see Jesus’ hands and feet (each one of us) doing amazing miracles today.
This week I received a call in the church office asking if I could come help a man whose wheelchair had broken down. I said I could go investigate and see if my basic mechanical skills could help at all. When I arrived and found “George”, he was sitting on the curb with his wheel- chair beside him. The rubber on the front wheels of his chair had worn through, forcing him to drag all of his belongings in shopping carts backwards along his recycling route. Now, all that dragging had worn the front wheels down to the rims and spokes.
George told me that he had asked a man nearby to call our church office because several years ago when he had another broken wheelchair, a kind person from our congregation came to his aid and fixed his chair. He told me that he had meet Jesus here at the Hollywood Adventist Church even though he’d never actually been to our building. He reached out to us, hoping for a miracle so that he could be mobile again. After taking a look at George’s chair I knew that I could get him up and going but it was clear that since it was the end of the day I would not be able to get the parts until the next day. I told George that I would come back the next day to fix his chair. When I returned and put new wheels on George’s chair he was so excited. After I finished he pulled himself up into his chair and went wheeling around the block with the biggest smile on his face. To George, those of us who helped him were miracles and glimpses of Jesus. For me, my interaction with George felt like I had just meet Jesus in a very personal way.
As an adult I’ve come to understand that Jesus is the most powerful superhero ever, but He still cares for me personally. As part of His care for me He gives me glimpses of Himself in the present tense through those that I interact with. I must also remember that I may be the only Jesus someone may every see and it is my challenge to represent Him well.