Nasty Man

Jose was a nasty man. Anybody in town would tell you that. No one wanted to be near him. Not even his wife.

Jose’s damaged legs and back meant he couldn’t get around without a wheelchair. He moved from his house along the broken sidewalk, turning the wheels while cursing his legs, the neighbors and God. Especially God.

One evening, on the other side of town, Nelson dreamed God was asking him to go to the far side of town and hold a series of Bible meetings. Nelson argued with God. Holding Bible meetings would likely ruin his home business.

“Why do you want me to fail?” Nelson asked God.

God reminded Nelson that the Bible meetings needed to begin soon.

Nelson told his wife about the dream, and she agreed with God. So, they began planning, “God’s Disaster.”

Nelson located a vacant lot where he could pitch a tent and hold the meetings. He ordered folding chairs and printed posters.

One afternoon, while Nelson was nailing a poster to a telephone pole in the vacant lot, his hammer slipped. While reaching for the hammer, Nelson, ladder, poster and all fell into the next door neighbor’s yard. Jose’s yard!

Jose was furious, screaming at Nelson and calling him “crazy!”

Nelson extricated himself as best he could and invited Jose to come to the meetings. You would not want to hear Jose’s response.

On the first night of the meetings, Jose played loud music, flashed lights, made his dogs bark and shouted like a mean old man.

The next night he rolled his wheelchair into an open space on the back row.

“Welcome, Jose,” Nelson greeted him. “Why did you come over tonight?”

“Maybe the music will sound better if I can see the faces of the singers.”

Jose came every night. His wife came too. And his dogs stopped barking.

When Nelson asked if anyone wanted to be baptized, Jose raised both hands.

“I want to be a different man,” Jose said. “And I want to be baptized in the river in my wheelchair.”

The next Sabbath afternoon an Adventist pastor joined Nelson, Jose, their wives and many others at the river. The river bed was rocky, making it hard to get him deep enough. They finally made it, and the pastor prayed and tipped the wheelchair over backwards as Jose insisted he do. Somehow, Jose landed on his feet and slowly felt strength coming into his useless legs. The onlookers gasped as Jose stood taller and taller and then slowly walked out of the river onto the sandy bank.

“God’s legs,” Jose said.

That day a small, 20-person Seventh-day Adventist church was established in Jose’s community. Nelson and his wife came twice a week, able to do so because God had tripled the size of their home business.

Jose? Today he’s known as the “kind man” who often plays games with the kids in the park — while sitting in his wheelchair.

“Sure, I still use my wheelchair,” Jose would tell you. “I can walk OK, but this way I always have a comfortable seat! Especially at church."