He existed in layers of bitterness—each passing year cementing his rage until his mind contorted with an intense hatred toward himself and others. Born with cerebral palsy, Boris* was unable to walk or take care of himself.
One day, he looked out the window and saw a neighbor boy whose face looked different, as if he were glowing.
“Come up here and tell me what happened to you,” he called down. So the boy brought his Bible and came to tell him how he had come to Jesus two days before. Boris felt something come alive inside his spirit as he listened and opened the Bible.
That night, Boris heard a voice telling him how to pray the Lord’s prayer. “My family was Communist and we were a mix of Serbian, Croatian, and Muslim,” he said. “So I didn’t really have any tradition to follow. But I think this prepared me for what happened next.”
Three days later, Boris was in his room, trying to do some kind of Eastern meditation, when suddenly he prayed, “Please give me the Holy Spirit.”
“I didn’t know why I asked that…I didn’t even know what the Holy Spirit was..but this yearning came from deep within me.”
Right after he prayed, Boris experienced an electric wave move over him…once…twice…and three times. “I felt life in my body for the first time because I had been physically paralyzed before,” Boris said. The experience grew more intense and suddenly Boris saw a burning cross. The next thing he knew he was kneeling before it. When he looked up, he saw Jesus looking at him. “What are you doing here, my Lord?” Boris asked.
“It was strange…I wasn’t a believer in Jesus, but when you see Jesus there is nothing else you can call him. Suddenly, everything was instantly clear to me…who he was, what he was doing, and who I was.”
Boris heard Jesus say, “Before you become my child, you must renounce your hatred of yourself and others.” Boris began to cry and then felt himself come back into his body again.
For the next eight days, Boris could not stop crying—he could feel the Holy Spirit healing his mind and his spirit. “I had been so filled with hatred that I was like a crazy person..I had no perspective in my life and it had warped my mind.”
At the end of the eight days, Boris began arguing with Jesus. “Why didn’t you completely heal my body? Now my mind is healed but my body is still crippled! Who will accept me? I am the least of any person on earth! Who can I serve?”
Boris felt Jesus promise him he would show him those who were in greater need than he—and five years later, when the war in Bosnia ended, Boris found himself ministering and praying for drug addicts living on the streets.
“I am not sure why God did not completely heal my body. But I think it is because it is a more powerful expression of God’s glory. Despite my disabilities, I am a pastor, I have a beautiful wife and three kids, and now I can walk.”
Christ’s power perfected in weakness—a stumbling block for those hoping and looking for a different kind of power. But for others, as they see God’s glory gleaming through the cracks of a broken vessel, they are able to understand God with more clarity. The way of the kingdom can be baffling and mysterious—it is both hidden and not hidden, true power is revealed in weakness, and the meek shall inherit the earth. For some, this is the way of freedom and life, but others turn away in disappointed confusion, wondering why God seems absent.
*Name has been changed.