When No One Sees or Knows … Except God

When No One Sees or Knows… Except God

Lucinda Secrest McDowell

             Today Dieter lives an unseen life.

            But it was not always so. He pioneered one of the first GenX churches in America and was worship pastor at Willowcreek Community Church’s Axis ministry for young adults. For years he was in great demand as a musician, speaker and author. Everyone wanted to listen to him perform and hear what he had to say.

            Then Dieter suffered a major stroke, resulting in a coma.

“Six days later he awoke as a different man. His crippled right hand couldn’t play the piano. He couldn’t sing. He couldn’t even speak – except very slowly and painfully to mumble a stuttering string of unrelated words. Dieter’s stage was gone. The applause he thrived on was gone. The opportunity to use his talents and earn a living were gone. It seemed everything was all gone.”

“Yet, inside Dieter was still the same person. His brilliant and creative mind was completely in tact. He had the same emotions, the same sense of humor, the same wit and eloquence, but he had a bungling mouth. It tired people out trying to understand him. One by one they went away. Isolation set in. He was sealed off from the rest of the world behind the wall that is called aphasia.” (Bill Gaultiere, “A Kingdom of Cardboard and Spoils,”) 

Is our life worth living if most of it is unseen?

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal2 Corinthians 4.18 NIV

            Today Dieter Zander works in a back room at Trader Joe’s and breaks down cardboard boxes. He also sorts through the shopping carts marked “spoils” and salvages food to deliver to the Salvation Army. “It will feed the hungry, who won’t care at all that their apple is lopsided, that their hamburger is in the waning stage of freshness. They don’t care how it looks. They just want to eat.” Dieter reflects, “I understand the spoils. I can relate. I used to be packaged as perfect. But now I am recycled Dieter.”

            In his private world of aphasia, Dieter heard the voice of God and felt His comfort, peace and even laughter. Robert Murray McCheyne once said, When the heart is at rest in Jesus — unseen, unheard by the world — the Spirit comes, and softly fills the believing soul, quickening all, renewing all within.”

            What things unseen are important in your own life today — prayers, kindnesses, serving, giving, listening, sacrificing? Will you invest in such things, knowing that no one will know, except God?

            Dieter has indeed changed.  Of his unseen life, Dieter is finally able to talk after years of therapy, “God was my boss. God is my friend now. Years ago, everything is dead. But now, my stroke is good to me and I am happy. I talk to God every day. I say, ‘Thank you, I am alive again.’” 

            Can we say the same?

under the mercy, Cindy

©2017 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

lentfrontLENT began March 1st! CLICK HERE for your Free Printable of “2017 Lent Guide” to use with “Dwelling Places.” 

Website/Blog www.EncouragingWords.net

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8 Responses to When No One Sees or Knows … Except God

  1. Jan says:

    That’s a powerful story and important reminder for us all. Thank you for sharing that, Cindy. Your blog always carries ‘encouraging words’ across the oceans to me here in Asia.

  2. Lucinda Peeples says:

    Thank you for the message today. A good reminder for us all

  3. laela2014 says:

    I remember hearing Dieter at Willow Creek Leadership conferences. How very sad. And yet I can relate a little. I’ve gained so much through my RA. Thanks for sharing this, Cindy. Will it be in your new book?

    • Great to hear from you, Lael. You have taught me a lot about ‘unseen.’ Yes, this is currently in the “Renew” section of my book “Dwelling Places” – word for the day, “Unseen.” If you are working through this section for Lent (I have a free printable guide at the bottom of the blog) TODAY is “unseen.” Thanks for the encouragement and Happy Easter!

  4. maggierowe says:

    What a powerful story, Cindy. Glad you included it in Dwelling Places, as I had not heard it before. This statement will stay with me: “I understand the spoils. I can relate. I used to be packaged as perfect.”

    • Yes it is quite powerful. When radio interviewers ask me what the hardest word was to write about in “Dwelling Places” I usually answer “Unseen.” I felt called to use this word and verse, but had no idea what to say. Then God showed me this redemptive story… Congrats on you-know-what…

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