Bobby was just a normal kid at 6 years old, fighting with his brother on the daily, and learning to play sports with his dad, when one day Bobby’s dad walked out of the room while Bobby was sitting on the couch. All he can remember is Bobby screaming "I can’t see, Dad! I can’t see!!" This was the first of two strokes Bobby had as a child. Bobby was diagnosed with brain cancer at 6 years old. Now a 10 year old in a 26 year old's body, legally blind, deaf to the point that he relies on a cochlear implant, he has broken both hips and is bound to a wheelchair. Every morning and night consists of taking upwards of 7 medications to keep his seizures under control. This is the young man I have been blessed to take care of each week.
It didn’t take long for Bobby to open up to me. He loves that we are the same age, and he’s never had a ‘friend’ as his caretaker before. A typical night consists of him telling me how amazing it is that we're both 26, telling me how much he loves his old country music, watching a movie that he has undoubtedly seen 20 times, and just hanging out while he sings along to “I believe I can fly.”
It was two weeks into taking care of him that we were just sitting and talking. He started to tell me about his cancer and how he used to be able to walk and play and run and jump. I couldn’t imagine being in his position. But he didn’t stop there. Without a missed beat he went on to tell me how he couldn’t wait for Jesus because one day he was going to help him walk and jump again and that he would help him hear and see, too. I got into the conversation with him and told him I couldn’t wait either, and that he was right, Jesus would help him with all those things, and that he might even help him fly one day. I’d never seen him move so fast. "HE’LL HELP ME FLY?!!!! I DIDN’T KNOW THAT!!!! Wow. Oh my! Sheesh!!" I assured him that Jesus would help us do so many things. Our conversation went on and I asked him if he’d like to pray. It was the most sincere and innocent prayer I have ever heard. His prayer went on for 15 minutes thanking Jesus for being so awesome and thanking Him for everything that He was going to do in his life in the future. Later that night I laid down on my air mattress in his room and I could hear him praying again and again thanking Jesus for helping him walk and hear and see again when he comes. Bobby had no doubt.
Matthew 18:3 said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” This is all I could think about that night and the days to come. There is a beauty in the faith of a child. There is power in their innocence. We are so quick to grow up in the hopes of not being children any longer than necessary… but there are so many things I’ve lost as I’ve become an adult. I’ve allowed the world to fill me with its skepticism. I’ve allowed myself to ‘be realistic’ about things. As if Jesus and the gospel are about realism. My innocence has slipped away as I allow things into my head that are "meant for adults." Things like music, movies, conversation at work… and I use the word ‘allow’ for a reason, these are all choices that I’ve made, whether I’ve felt they were ‘necessary’ choices at the time or not, they were my choice.
Jesus is on his way back to help Bobby walk, see, hear, and maybe even fly. He’s coming back for his children whether they are 6 or 82. I want to be his child. I can’t make it on my own. I need my Father to guide me and carry me along. I don’t need to do it alone anymore. Lord, make me like Bobby.
Jeremy Rogers is studying nursing at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, TN.