For The Independent
It started simply enough. The middle-aged woman was asked to teach a Sunday school class whose members included an autistic, 9-year-old girl.
She quickly became devoted to the beautiful child who looked perfectly normal but could not speak.
However, sometimes the girl spontaneously sang bits and pieces of children’s church songs.
She loved to rub and lightly scratch the surface of various objects. She liked to laugh and cried only when upset but usually was silent.
One Sunday the teacher asked if the young girl could sit with her during the worship service.
She, in effect, would be another grandparent helping the parents who had two other younger children to supervise.
The teacher went home that Sunday and told her husband of the spiritual feeling she had while sitting with the young girl in church.
Later, she commented that the uplifting experience stayed with her throughout the week and she told co-workers about the young girl.
Curious about this special child his wife kept talking about, the teacher’s husband came to see her the next Sunday.
In a matter of moments, the young girl laid her head on the man’s shoulder and fell fast asleep.
As the couple drove home that Sunday afternoon, the husband agreed that he, too, had sensed something very spiritual about the young girl.
Some weeks passed and the husband was diagnosed with cancer. He underwent surgery and weeks of chemotherapy and radiation.
Throughout the ordeal, he kept telling his family that the little girl’s spirit was inspiring him to have faith and to endure.
As he slowly recuperated, he eagerly returned to church to sit with his wife and this special child who had softened his heart and lifted his spirits.
Today, three years later, this once unhappy, discouraged man is a happier, more loving person to his own family and friends.
His own children and grandchildren say they are proud of how he and his wife look after the young girl at church.
He is an active churchgoer because he knows — and others close to him sincerely believe — that he has been touched by an angel.
Many of us are convinced that God often works through other persons to bring about life-altering changes in the lives of those who need His help.
In this case, the divine instrument was a special young girl who didn’t need words to convey a message of hope and love.
KEITH KAPPES is publisher of The Grayson Journal and The Morehead News.