James Swanson Story

  • Jan. 4, 2013
  • #8005

If you would like to help a family affected by a disability, then Heart for the Disabled is just for you. Learn how a simple note, drawing, or card, touched the life of the Swanson Family.

James Swanson Story

I’m Joni and I'm hoping you're ready for next week's Heart for the Disabled.

Hey, if you’ve listened to Joni and Friends in years past, you know all about our Heart for the Disabled campaign this time of year. That’s where you help us give the love of Christ to special needs families who attended our Family Retreats last summer. And right now, it’s the middle of winter — a hard time for many disabled people and their families; the day-to-day routines are pressing in with that disability, and these moms and dads … they need encouragement from you. So, get ready, because the next time we meet, I’ll be giving you the name of a special needs family to whom you can write a note of Christian encouragement. And, oh, do these cards and letters mean so much!

I remember last year, when I told you about the Swanson family. Ruby and James and their two young adult sons with disabilities (one of them named Joe with Down syndrome; he knows every song in the Baptist hymnal … even the page number that marks the hymn). Well, last year you friends were so generous in your response to the Swansons. And, we bundled up all your letters, gift cards, poems, notes and sent them to arrive right on time for Valentine’s Day. It was a cold, February day, but your encouragement really brightened their lives. And the Swansons so needed it. Because the very day the package arrived, was the exact same day that James Swanson learned he had liver cancer. The whole family was stunned and saddened by the news, but then, they opened your package and slowly started reading all the uplifting notes that included assurances of prayer, Bible verses of comfort, inspirational poems and, yes, even gift certificates. James and Ruby were absolutely overwhelmed at God's timing. I mean those cards and letters felt like the everlasting arms of God, supporting and reminding them that this terrible diagnosis of liver cancer was not beyond the care and compassion of the Lord.

James had to go immediately into the hospital but, for days on end, he read each card and letter, amazed at the tenderness of God's people. We sent James a second Heart for the Disabled package of letters — letters that arrived from listeners a little tardy in sending them — and the Swansons received it just when James experienced a setback. Again, the scriptures and the hymns supported him and his wife. And they felt so blessed to know that you, hundreds of you, were praying for them. And now, 12 months later, James Swanson has gone home to be with the Lord Jesus, but his wife wrote to tell me what a huge blessing Heart for the Disabled was to her, and her husband, and her boys. We did not know that a year ago … we did not know about that cancer, and you didn’t know… but our heavenly Father knew.

The Bible tells us to be instant in season and out of season. And this season, during Heart for the Disabled, I am asking you to help me give the love of Christ in a simple yet practical way next week as you write a note or a card with your favorite scriptures, or maybe a poem, or Xerox a prayer. So, join me next time on Joni and Friends and be ready with a pad of paper and a pen to jot down the names of special needs families like, well… like the Swansons. And if you can’t get to a pencil or pad of paper, then don't worry, I’ll be posting all the details on my radio page at joniandfriends.org. So, thank you, dear friend, for having a heart for the disabled. Tell your friends to be listening in next week, because I want them to have a heart for good people like the Swanson family, too. So, see you next time on Joni and Friends for Heart of the Disabled.

© Joni and Friends


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