Kaden’s Cure: Spinal Muscular Atrophy

3D DNA colorful“I’m not used to someone seeing Kaden just for who he is and not for his disability.”  These are the words of a mother who is as grateful as she is heartbroken.

Katie Myers is the proud mother of an 18-month-old son named Kaden.   Katie’s joy of motherhood was interrupted when she learned that Kaden was born with  (SMA).

If you are like me, you know very little about SMA.  According to information at Kaden’s website, his disease:

  • is the number 1 genetic killer of children under 2 years of age. More than half of babies diagnosed with SMA won’t see their second birthday.
  • destroys motor neurons controlling voluntary movement and can hinder the ability to walk, crawl, sit, roll over, or exhibit head & neck control.
  • has the statistical probability of afflicting 1 in every 6,000 live births

The gratitude of Katie Meyers and her appreciation for the manner in which another boy interacted with Kaden is easily seen in the note she posted on Facebook:  “To the little boy at the science museum, I don’t know who you are, but thank you for being amazing. You let my son play and engage with you. You helped him pick up balls from the floor when you saw that he could not. You didn’t ask what was wrong with him or why he couldn’t walk, you just saw him. Kaden is a lot like you, he is very curious and wildly smart. He wants to know how everything works. Thank you for helping him turn the lever when you noticed he was too weak to do it himself. You will probably never see this but just by being you, you make this world better.”

I don’t know Katie or Kaden, but I do know that we can learn a lesson from them:  We need to focus on the innate dignity of the people we meet.

We can do something else:  We can pray for them.

The Man With The Better Idea

thomas-edisonI have always been amazed at the brilliant and inventive mind of Thomas Edison.   During his lifetime, Edison developed many devices including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and his discoveries were the prototype of the modern day power grid.

To offer some insight into the mind of Edison, I have selected five simple but intriguing quotes that are credited to this wonderful man:

  • The man who doesn’t make up his mind to cultivate the habit of thinking misses the greatest pleasure in life.
  • The world owes nothing to any man, but every man owes something to the world.
  • I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. I wish I had more years left.
  • Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
  • I believe that the science of chemistry alone almost proves the existence of an intelligent creator.

In 1914, Edison’s factory burned to the ground destroying his one-of-a-kind prototypes.  Edison’s response to the catastrophe revealed his character: “Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up. Now we can start fresh again.”

This remarkable statement by Edison, reminds me of Paul’s assessment of his life.  Notice the value he places on what he lost and what he gained, and how he contrasts the earthly and the eternal:  “But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ.  More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith (Philippians 3:7-9).”

What do you value most, the earthly or the eternal?  Paul said: ” For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).

Blending In and Standing Out

panther_chameleon_yurimaru_2A recent article in Nature Communication reported on the unique ability of chameleons to adapt to their surroundings by changing their colors.  The article stated:  “Many chameleons, and panther chameleons in particular, have the remarkable ability to exhibit complex and rapid color changes during social interactions such as male contests or courtship.”

While most people are familiar with chameleons, researchers have discovered something new about this colorful lizard.  The ability of chameleons to change color is more than just manipulating their pigmentation.   They change color by actively tuning the positions of light-reflecting guanine nanocrystal cells that are embedded in their skin.

When I read this article, I thought:  “This is exactly what Paul did throughout his ministry.”  Chameleons change color to adapt to their surrounding and to benefit them in their social interactions, but this change doesn’t alter their basic constitution—they remain lizards.

Paul adapted his methods, but he never changed his message.  He emphasized different distinctives of the Gospel, so he could proclaim certain principles to specific segments of society.

Notice how The Message describes the chameleon ministry of Paul:

“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it (I Corinthian 9:19-23)!”

By laying aside all pretense and pride, Paul was able to reach people for Christ.  Read it again: “I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life.”

Paul laid his life on the line, so people could align their life with God:

“You know that from day one of my arrival in Asia I was with you totally—laying my life on the line, serving the Master no matter what, putting up with no end of scheming by Jews who wanted to do me in. I didn’t skimp or trim in any way. Every truth and encouragement that could have made a difference to you, you got. I taught you out in public and I taught you in your homes, urging Jews and Greeks alike to a radical life-change before God and an equally radical trust in our Master Jesus (Acts 20).”  ~The Message

Are you willing to blend in, so you can stand out for the sake of the Gospel? Will you  “discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12)?”