From the Streets of Miami to the Halls of Heaven

by DanWolgemuth on August 9, 2013

Body sizes of all dimensions and skin colors of all hews filled the chair-less room.  Energy oozed out of the pores of 200 middle school students as they unleashed their nitro-fueled excitement.  Camp.

After a day of physically demanding activities in heat and humidity that had me changing t-shirts and taking showers in pit-stop like rhythm, there was no letup in the enthusiasm or engagement of these young souls.  That’s why, when Don Talley rolled on stage in his electric wheelchair, the respectful concentration and focused attention was nothing short of amazing.  Don had them.  His stories entertained, and his transparent words riveted the kids like the coolest new app.  Don had them… and then, without so much as a bump in the road, Don handed these 200 young people off to the unconfined stirring of the Holy Spirit. 

With young people hanging on his every word Don shifted from his personal life experience to the biblical story of a woman who had been sick for 12 years.  She had blown through her life savings, she had exhausted all the medical expertise in the community… and now, only Jesus was left. 

Don paced the reading of Luke 8:43-48 like an accomplished distance runner measures his strides.  Kids didn’t simply listen, they entered the story. They embraced the loneliness and shame and disappointment and fear. 

They reached for the edge of Jesus’ garment just as she did.  They ached for her. 

As the crescendo built to verse 48, Don read:

Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!”

But before Don’s words had floated to the ground applause lifted them to the heavens.  Primarily urban young people from Miami and Palm Beach County exploded in spontaneous and unconfined applause. 

Why not?

Jesus had done it.

The woman had risked what was left of her reputation and dignity.

She had been rewarded with both healing and identity.


What beauty.  What restoration.  What rescue.

Of course, we should clap and cheer and shout for joy.  And a rainbow of young people in a collage of shapes and sizes lifted their praise in one accord… many without yet embracing Jesus as Lord… but seeing Him first as hero and advocate and friend.  They cheered.

And as they did, my soul soared. 

For Jesus.  For redemption.  For healing, and forgiveness, and grace, and mercy, and hope, and tenderness, and attention…

Kids, many who were hearing this story for the very first time, did what I should be the first to do… they cheered for Jesus; they led the way. 

All hail our King.  All praise to Jesus.

One moment an outcast… the next moment His daughter.  

What a message.  What a Savior.

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