Within eight hours of Pastor Jon’s recent sermon about the friends who helped get their paralyzed friend to Jesus, the words rang true for me. The scriptures came alive!

Reflection by Donna Shiflet
The Sprinkles have been hosting our Sunday school class in their backyard with social distancing, but this past Sunday the ground had become very saturated with the week’s rain. My power wheelchair stalled a little, and a little more power created deep ruts in their lawn, but everyone yelled “keep going” and “turn,” and I was buried in the muck, mire and mud. (Psalm 40:2 came to mind, but I knew I was not going to stand on a solid rock.) As I looked down and back it looked like a big John Deere tractor had torn up the the lawn. My wheels were buried and there was no way it was going to move. My true friends tried cardboard, plywood, rocking my chair and countless other efforts, which all proved futile.  The chair weighs 300 pounds without me, and there was no way my four true friends were going to move me. My husband, Don, and I knew we would have to transfer me out of the chair to extract the chair.

Donna and Don Shiflet

Frank taught the lesson while Don ran two trips to bring me a chair that I could transfer into. We finally used my shower chair, and then my friends were able to remove the motorized chair and help clean it  up. While sitting buried and participating in the class, I tried not to think of another thunderstorm approaching with lightning since I wasn’t sure grabbing my arms and legs would carry me to safety. (Psalm 40:3 … “Lord I’m trusting you to hold the storms back,” and He did!)

All I could think of was Jon’s sermon and my “true heroic friends” gathered around me, another paralytic. What a true blessing and debt of heartfelt gratitude to the Sprinkels, Dunhams, Sweets, Hannahs and Margie.  Prayers were being offered and minds were being creative to solve the problem and help. One individual even offered to call in a towing company! Of course, my greatest friend and hero is Don, my soulmate and precious caregiver.

My four heroic true friends partnered together, worked hard and had great faith to rescue me, and I am so thankful they were so inspired by the sermon to act. We all listened, we acted and kept the faith.  And yes, everyone was amazed and praised God.

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