Early this morning, I updated and published our daily blog–on the computer. Later in the morning, I worked on The Special Gathering of Indian River upcoming board meeting–on the computer. In the afternoon, I renewed my corporate papers, paid some bills, looked up an address, sought some important information regarding disabilities, tried to get my printer working, worked on my income statement, updated our data base–all on the computer.

Like most people I have an enormous love/hate relationship with my computer. And frankly, I’m not sure that our small ministry could exist without our computers. The Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community that operates in eight cities and two states. We minister on a face-to-face basis each week to about 350 to 400 individuals who are intellectually disabled. We have two full-time staff members and 6 part-time staff members. We beg and borrow from everybody in five counties to survive.

We manage and update our web-based data regularly. We have a newsletter that we publish as a small fraction of the cost of what it would be without a computer. We organize, rearrange, write and communicate with our computers.

But we usually produce a product (in our newsletters and publications) that is first-class. We have received phone inquiries from large churches in our geographic area asking how we can do what we do with the budget we have. Of course, the answer is the computer.

But this afternoon, I can’t get any of my WORD files because they all go to ADOBE READER.  And they won’t open in ADOBE because it says they have been corrupted.  Which is true.  Perhaps,  it is a simple thing that has gone wrong but I can’t figure out what has happened. I’m frustrated and upset.

At times like these, I catch a glimpse of what it must be like to be one of my members who is intellectually disabled. There seems to be no way that I can overcome the ADOBE obstacle that faces me. One Sunday, as I shared with our members the joy of living as a Christian, I could tell something was missing for them. I stopped. “I know,” I said, “this may sound almost like a foreign language to you. We are always last in line. Always waiting for someone to help us so we can do what seems simple to other people.”

The room was frozen with silence. Annie smiled her embarrassed twisted grin. Tears formed in Laurie’s eyes.

But I went on, “Be sure, Jesus sees and he cares about you. He knows what you suffer to merely live each day. If nobody else understands, He understands.” There was a collective sigh of relief that filled the room.
All of us need to know that our lives are important to someone. All of us need to know that being last in line isn’t the worst thing that can happen. All of us need to understand that somehow the printer will begin to work again and the simple things will get done.

Have you ever has such identity with your members that you felt that their problems, were your problems? How were you able to communicate with them that you understand their hurts?