DaRT: Miracle on Elm Street

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Contributed by Julie Atwood.

Deep Ellum. A new location, an arts district known for its coffee houses and offbeat
sculptures . . . like the giant tin robot sprawled out strumming a banjo, whose insect eyes
gape at us as we hop off the train. “We should see some interesting-looking people round
here, too,” Natalie tells me with a grin. “The kind with multiple body-piercings and hair
dyed every color of the rainbow.”

But not even many “normal” looking people have chosen to brave the wind-whipped
streets on this chilly evening. The few we meet clipping down the sidewalk are tourists or
young couples seeking out a trendy restaurant . . . along with a few folks chugging beer
as they joke around in the open doorway of a bar. The general mood seems to be one of
good-natured indifference to our offers of prayer.

“Thanks, but no thanks,” one beer-guzzler tells us with a tolerant smile. “It’s nice you’re
thinking of us, though.” And as a young couple dashes past us at breakneck speed, the
female partner twists her head around. “I do need a job,” she calls over one shoulder.
“But do you guys mind praying by yourselves, without asking me to participate?”

Then there is Richard, a lean, sinewy cyclist who pauses on the sidewalk beside his sleek
racing bike. “You guys got any money so I can get a bite to eat?” When offered prayer
instead—we’re all by now completely out of change—he peers at us through veiled eyes,
answers Brandy’s queries with terse monosyllables. When she shares with him her vision
of a young girl who holds a special place in his life, he responds with a noncommittal
shrug. “I got sixteen grandchildren. Three of ’em are girls.”

“What are their names?”

A pause, another shrug. “Dunno for sure. Think one of ’em’s Chantelle.”

As we hold up Chantelle in prayer, Richard’s face remains impassive as a stone.

But I recall with joy the first face we encountered on this evening.

A face glowing with light.

I can still see Mason as he limps right up to us. His face is split by an enormous sun-
bright smile . . . and his eyes are shining with belief that miracles are possible.

He too begins by requesting money for a bite to eat. When Henry fishes coins out from
his pockets, Mason’s smile broadens even more. And when Natalie offers to pray for
him, that smile illumines his whole face. “God bless you folks! I known all my life that
Jesus loves me. Wanna hear my testimony?” At our nods, he begins. “We was all six
years old. All lined up down by the river, fixin’ to get baptized. Us boys laughin’ at the
girls, cause they all come up from the water sputterin’ an’ cryin.’ We sure wasn’t gonna
cry.

“Well, I were the very last in line. When my turn come, I bust out cryin’ something fierce
when my daddy—he was the preacher—pulled me up outta that water. But then know
what he did? He dunked my head down in that river a second time! Later on that evenin’
I asked him why he done that. He said, ‘You had the devil on you, boy. Didn’t want no
devil comin’ into our house.’ ” Mason shakes his head, grins at his recollection. “After
that day I always tried real hard to follow the Lord. Well, I’ve backslid some, but I know
Jesus loves me anyway.”

He stumbles two steps forward, listing from a left foot pointed away from his right at an
awkward forty-five degree angle. “Would y’all pray for my healing? Had me a stroke all
down this side.” His trembling fingers sweep from the left side of his head, down to his
bent and quivering left leg. “But I know Jesus loves me, an’ He can work a miracle in
me.”

As we all lay hands on him, I can feel his simple trust pour out like sunshine into the
night air. Something pure and childlike within his gentle nature touches me, fills me with
a rare and thrilling sense of expectation. Yes, this time it will happen.

And sure enough, it does. Mason’s eyes widen with amazement. He exclaims, “The pain
is gone!”

“Does your leg feel stronger?” Brandy asks him.

“A little,” he admits and, with his eager permission, we launch into a second prayer.

This time, Mason starts to shake. But it’s not a tremoring aggravated by his stroke, for his
smile now suffuses his face with a glow from heaven. And he exclaims of the shaking, “It
feels good!”

“How’s your leg doing now?” Brandy asks when his shaking stops.

Again Mason’s eyes widen with wonder. “Hey, it’s straight!”

We look. And see not only a leg firm as a tree trunk, with no more kink in it . . . but also
a left foot which now lines up parallel to his good right foot. Encouraged to press down
on it, Mason reports it feels more sturdy. Then, almost leaping in his joy, he throws out
his arms and wraps every one of us—Brandy, Henry, Natalie, and me—in a giant bear
hug.

“Well, I need to get on back to the shelter now,” he says, “before it closes. But I can’t
wait to tell all the folks over there what the Lord did for me tonight! He worked a miracle
for me. Praise Jesus, and God bless you folks!”

As we accompany him down the street toward his shelter, we all praise God together . . .
trusting Him to keep on healing this faith-filled man of the left eye, arm, and hip that still
need another touch from his Creator. Henry passed on the assurance he felt that God would complete His work in Mason.

Before we once again board the train, Henry and Brandy find two other folks with needs
who are eager to share and receptive of prayer. And even on the train—amidst a gaggle
of service dogs trembling beside their trainers—Brandy encounters an old friend.

Blind Ramon’s accompanied by his service dog—a black Lab who slips in like a shadow
against the sunny sea of Golden Retrievers. While the dogs survey one another through
curious chocolate eyes, their black and golden tails whipping with delight, Ramon recalls
with equal pleasure the last visit, during which Brandy and Cheyenne prayed with him.

We have no idea when he’ll receive his healing . . . nor how God might touch the lives
of the stoic cyclist Richard, his granddaughter Chantelle, or the others in his family. Nor
do we know about most of the other folks we encountered in Deep Ellum . . . whether the
woman who raced past us will find the job she wants or the cheerful young beer-drinker
will one day discover prayer is more than just a friendly gesture.

But we can entrust them all into God’s hands . . . warmed by the Light blazing through
one homeless saint whose faith transformed his limp into a joyful miracle stride down
Elm Street.


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