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Restored by Love

Diane Houghtaling - Columnist
Posted 2/18/21

Recently I read a devotional story that told of the amazing transforming power of love. It was about a little girl named Annie who was locked in a cage in the dungeon of a mental institution.

The …

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Restored by Love

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Recently I read a devotional story that told of the amazing transforming power of love. It was about a little girl named Annie who was locked in a cage in the dungeon of a mental institution.

The doctors said it was the only place for the hopelessly insane, those beyond any hope of reaching. There were times that Annie behaved like an animal, attacking any who came close to her cage. Other times she just sat in a daze.

And that's where she would have lived out her life and died if not for the compassion of an elderly nurse who would not give up on any of God's children. In hopes of communicating love to Annie, this nurse began taking her lunch breaks in the dungeon next to Annie's cage. One day she left a chocolate brownie next to the cage, with no response. But the next day she found that the brownie was gone. So each Thursday the nurse left a brownie for Annie.

As weeks passed, the doctors began to notice a little improvement in Annie. After several months they decided to move her upstairs. Annie began to respond and this “hopeless case” was eventually restored by the love shown to her by that nurse. The day finally came when she was told she could return home, but by now she was an adult and decided to remain at the institution to pass on the love she'd been shown to help others.

But that's not the end of Annie's story. She was none other than the teacher Anne Sullivan who was commissioned to help another little girl who seemed to be a hopeless case. An illness left Helen Keller blind and deaf as a toddler, and there seemed to be no way to reach her or teach her. But at age 7, Anne began to patiently work with her, pouring her love and life into her, until she finally broke through her darkness and made contact.

Anne taught Helen to communicate, to read, write and speak, by spelling words into her hands. Helen would go on to attend college, write 14 books, and lecture around the world as she advocated for disability and women's rights. She is known for her courage in the face of overwhelming odds, a life restored by love.

Most of us have not been labeled as hopeless cases, but we all have some area in our lives that needs healing and restoration. I Corinthians 13:8 tells us that love never fails. We can be sure that when we receive God's love into our hearts, that love will never fail us and we can expect healing and restoration.

Most of us will not be called upon to love others in such extreme hopeless conditions. But we all know others who need the transforming power of love. We are surrounded by those whose actions upset us, possibly finding them in our own homes and families. We may work with them, or see them in church.

It is hard to love others we may not even like, but we are called to do so. We can ask God to help us see others through His eyes and love them with His love. We can surrender our feelings and let God flow His love through us to reach those lost in darkness. And we just might be instrumental in bringing breakthrough to another Anne Sullivan or Helen Keller.

Hope Ministries is a Christian counseling center, and we are here to help. If you would like to speak confidentially with someone, give us a call at 482-5300.

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