by David Sisler

When Sandy was born, she was an unexpected gift. She is a Down-syndrome child. A perplexing extra chromosome created her almond-shaped eyes, tiny nose and low muscle tone. It also created some mental and physical retardation.

Sandy is not a “normal” person twisted by a genetic mishap. She is a different person, every cell is different from “normal” people. The genetic code from that extra chromosome dictated her difference.

Her mother said, “Sandy is a blessing in the way a normal child is not. In describing her, the word ‘special’ rises from the ordinary and comes grippingly alive.”

When the family’s minister held the newborn infant for her christening, he said, “Some of us here today are saddened that Sandy may never reach her full potential.”

Then he softly added, “But who among us will?”

It has long been suggested that people who are deficient in one of the physical senses develop others more strongly as compensation. Sandy’s family wonders, “Has her limited mental and physical powers created in her a keener sense of heart?”

When Diane arrived home one cold, November evening, and pushed the “play” button on her answering machine, she heard a stranger’s voice say, “I am calling concerning an event that occurred on September 2, 1968.”

After Diane graduated from high school she became infatuated with an older man. Infatuation led to intimacy and by the time Diane discovered she was pregnant, the relationship had ended.

Diane determined to give birth and then place the baby for adoption. On September 2, her daughter was born.

The family who adopted Diane’s baby named the infant, Kelly. Kelly always knew she was adopted. Because the records were sealed, there were few answers when the little girl began asking questions about her natural mother. “We only know that when you were born, she could not give you a good home. She loved you so much that she arranged to have you adopted,” they said.

“Someday I’ll thank her,” Kelly said.

When Diane responded to the message on her answering machine, an officer of the court said, “You have a daughter who was adopted. She wants to meet you and her parents approve. Do you want to speak with her?”

Because Kelly was away at college, Diane’s phone call was answered by Kelly’s father. They eagerly traded information and then he said, “I’ve thanked you every day for 20 years for letting us make Kelly a part of our family.”

We don’t know the man’s name. We know he had a family, and we know his occupation. He was a jailer. In a time when it was understood, jails are places of punishment, not rehabilitation, he was in charge of a prison with maximum security facilities.

Into his care one day were placed two Jews. If the jailer knew why he was charged with placing Paul and Silas into the inner prison, it made no difference. It was his job. If they escaped, his life was forfeit.

Then in an area where earthquakes are still common, there was a very uncommon earthquake. It killed no one, but it broke the chains of every prisoner in that jail and sprung open every door to freedom. But because of the witness of Paul and Silas, not one prisoner tried to escape.

When the jailer learned that his life had been spared, he asked, “What must I do to be saved?”

Then he asked Paul to give the same message to every member of his family.

They all listened.

They all believed.

Family. It is one of the most beautiful words in any language. Centuries ago, Joshua spoke for his family when he said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

What about your family? With members in it every bit as special as Sandy or Diane or Kelly, who are you serving? If it is not the Lord, isn’t it time you applied for adoption into God’s Family?


Copyright 2002 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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