Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Michael Stephenson: 1970-2012

A true warrior for God's kingdom now has his great reward. Less than three weeks after turning 42 years old, Michael Stephenson passed away Tuesday morning.

I first knew of Michael in the early 2000s when he would call in to local sports radio station KFAN to talk Timberwolves (the NBA appeared to be his passion) and Vikings. Without the ability to speak, Mike would type his thoughts via keyboard on a speech generating device. You see, he had cerebral palsy and was confined to a wheelchair, requiring around-the-clock care.

As I was perusing Facebook late Monday evening, I saw a very nice picture of Mike which his sister Alison had posted. She used the picture to announce that Mike had gone into hospice care after a bout with pneumonia, which took such a large toll on his body.

Anyhow, Alison wrote the following caption under the photo:

This is my brother Michael. He was born with Cerebral palsy and my parents were told to put him in an institution. They didn't. He graduated from high school and college and has lived in his own apartment with help from PCAs since college. He is an amazing guy who has touched so many peoples lives including mine. An inspiration to many...

Indeed he was an inspiration to many. Whenever we saw Mike at church, whomever his aide was on that given Sunday knew exactly what Mike was conveying when he pointed to the front pocket of his backpack. The aide would unzip the pocket and pull out a pre-written check that was to be placed in the offering plate. It was a safe bet Mike wasn't exactly wealthy, but he gave of his harvest nonetheless. Then after being lifted out of his wheelchair and into a pew, Mike was often so moved by the worship music that he would slide out of the pew, literally crawl on his knees down the aisle towards the altar, all the while raising his hands in the air. I often think of how there were likely some people who were in the sanctuary at the time yet weren't feeling the urge to worship on that particular day. But seeing a physically broken man worship the Lord with everything he had most certainly moved others to put aside whatever blasé feelings they had at that moment.

My wife had posted a tribute to Mike on her Facebook page last evening which a friend of ours read to her husband and children. Our friend's son then replied "Now he can run to worship."

I wouldn't be shocked if he's been running nonstop since Tuesday morning.


1 comment:

Trippler said...

So sad about Michael Stephenson. He showed a lot of courage in continuing to root for the teams he loved despite all the medical difficulties he suffered. It takes courage to pursue your passions and he served as model to all in this regard.

My deepest condolences to his friends and family.