I read a story yesterday about a woman who lived in an asylum for severly retarded and disturbed people. One patient they simply called, Little Annie. She was completely unresponsive to treatment and did not speak. The staff gave up all hope of her ever recovering and took her down into the basement and locked her, alone, in a cell.
A Christian woman who worked at the asylum believed that every person deserved God's love and would visit Little Annie in the basement. Every day she spent her lunch hour reading the Bible and praying for Little Annie. Sometimes she brought in tempting foods for Little Annie, but months past and there was no change. The doctors told the Christian woman to just give up on Little Annie, but she would not. And one day, there was a brownie missing from the plate slid next to the cell door.
Encouraged, the Christian woman kept praying and reading God's word to Little Annie until the day that Little Annie was completely recovered and ready to live a normal life. Little Annie chose not to leave the asylum, but instead follow in the footsteps of her Christian friend and remained there to love and care for those in need.
Years later, Helen Keller was asked to what she could credit her success at overcoming being blind and deaf. She replied, "If it had not been for Anne Sullivan, I would not be here today."
What an amazing story. There were times that I can relate to the Christian woman persevering through hopelessness, praying for those who are in need. Yet, I also relate to Little Annie's plight, stuck in a dark place unable to see Jesus, only able to hold onto the closest friends to help me through.
The most important story is the one that ends with God using the dark times to encourage those around us. And our obedience and perseverance will create a ripple effect, touching many that we'll never know.
*This is the earliest known photograph of young Helen Keller with her teacher, Anne Sullivan.
*story taken from "Victory Over the Darkness" by Neil T. Anderson