Michael Lacher lives a complicated life because of his disabilities. That means his entire family lives a complicated life. They have chosen to live that life in the community of Bethlehem. Michael is well known and regarded at the North Campus of Bethlehem.
Today (Sunday) is Michael’s tenth birthday. God gave his mother, Jan, a glimpse into how he is using Michael to build up his church.
Jan sent me an email this week after the Wednesday Connection at Bethlehem, and then gave me permission to post it for your benefit and for God’s glory:
Michael celebrates (Lord willing) a decade of life on Sunday.
Last night, I brought two Costco, chocolate (of course) cakes, along with small bottles of water to his Wednesday night connection class. I have done this over the past several years in attempts to celebrate Michael’s birthday with his peers.
At one point during the class, the team leader led the children in singing “Happy Birthday” to him. At the end of the song, there was much gaiety and hoopla.
With much excitement, one boy raised his fist bolt-upright, and shouted, “MANY MORE YEARS, MICHAEL!!!”
I was touched. But even more, I was taken back at his understanding of Michael’s fragility. I am ever aware of it, but 10-year-old children? Maybe I am reading into it, but that is how I understood it.
Michael seems to have more friends than we (Mark and I) do. And I do not think it is because of delicious chocolate cake.
It is a work of God and a blessing to Michael.
This is not the first time a boy or boys at Bethlehem have done things to recognize Michael’s God-given dignity and value. Every time I hear of such a story, I think of God’s faithfulness to his church to every generation – and this generation of boys is being prepared in ways that require a boy like Michael. What might God be pleased to do through Michael’s life? What courageous things might God be preparing these boys to do in faith because they knew a real boy named Michael Lacher?
Michael’s participation with his peers didn’t just happen. Every step needed to be intentional. Every opportunity required thought and preparation. Jan and Mark can’t just drop him off and walk away.
But God loves his church so much he gave Bethlehem this boy and this family. And God gave Jan and Mark (and Michael’s siblings) such a love for God’s church that they have paid the price to include their son in the life of Bethlehem.
And I, for one, am grateful to God for Michael’s life and count it a privilege to know this family.
Happy Birthday, Michael! You are indispensable!