Japjohn Berg is bending his blond head over a piece of wood. He is very carefully carving letters as well as his nine-year-old skill will allow. Come closer and you will see that the letters are the beginning of a street name in Holland. What can it be?
It’s an address, the address of the new apartment to which Japjohn, his mother Marry, and his little brother Stephan have recently moved, leaving their beloved house because Daddy can no longer drive Stephan to his school and they needed to be many kilometers closer. Stephan is very handicapped from cerebral palsy and must learn in a special school to point out with his chin the pictures he is matching, because he can not use his hands or legs and is deaf.
Here is a family drawn close together by great difficulties, and amazingly close to the Lord. The resurrection of the dead and the coming changed bodies of all believers who in this life are handicapped have taken up much time in family conversation—conversation around a beautifully set table, always with flowers in the center; or during outdoor walks where leaves, ferns, butterflies, a special tree, a bird on a bush, are noticed and enjoyed. In the midst of enjoying the little things for which we can say “thank you” each day this family has always looked forward with vivid expectation to the return of Jesus—“for then Stephan will run and jump, make and feel things with his hands, be able to hug us, and jump over things like that log. Stephan will do wonderful things when Jesus comes and all believers are changed in the twinkling of an eye, and when we are finally in the new heaven and the new earth!”
Now Japjohn is carving his new address, and he wants to put it on the grave so that “if Jesus comes back and Daddy rises first ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more