He was a leper from Puerto Rico who had been sent to the Carville, Louisiana leprosy sanatorium because he was in such poor shape. His feet and hands were severely infected. His eyes were badly inflamed and paralysis of facial muscles were causing a difficulty blinking and cataracts.
In order to treat the oozing hands and feet, he was given a very strong antibiotic. This antibiotic was toxic to his auditory nerve and he lost his hearing. He was rapidly becoming blind after two years at the sanatorium. His nose was damaged and his sense of smell almost gone. He could only taste the food brough to him and put in his mouth three times a day.
His alert mind was trapped inside a body without feeling, sight, hearing, and smell and he began to die inside.
He just lay in the bed in the fetal position. As he continued to improve physically, the staff wanted to perate on his cataracts. He had an active brain but the staff could not communicate with it to get his “informed consent.” After much struggle, the staff contacted Puerto Rican police who found a relative to give permission for the surgery.
Here is the account of what happened as told in the Epilogue of the biography of Paul Brand, pioneer in leprosy:
“When the day came to take him to the surgery, he did not resist. It was as if he knew that something was being done to help him, willing for it, whatever it might be. He was quiet, cooperative. They operated, and he regained about 40 percent of his vision. He awoke, came alive once more. Though he could not feel, hear, or smell, he could see! He began going regularly to chapel where, though he could do nothing more than watch, he was once more a part of a fellowship, a part of the world. He knew that he was with people who cared about him.”
Margaret Brand, Paul’s wife, and the surgeon on this man’s eyes said:
“How like us! God so often sees what we really need, what He wants to do in our lives, yet we are too insensitive to recognize our need, to let Him do it. So we don’t give our ‘informed consent,’ and He can’t do it withouth our consent. He is just looking for us to say, ‘Here I am, Lord. If you want to do something with me, do it, because I know that You care.'”
It was still getting colder when she made it to the shoulder
And the car came to a stop
She cried when she saw that baby in the backseat sleeping like a rock
And for the first time in a long time
She bowed her head to pray
She said I’m sorry for the way
I’ve been living my life
I know I’ve got to change
So from now on tonight
Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can’t do this all my own
I’m letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I’m on.
We’ve got to give Him our consent. Let go of the wheel. We are blind, deaf, dumb, and unfeeling until we let Him restore us!
Lord, I ache for You. I ask you to take the wheel and give you the consent to do as You will. I do not want control of my life for I can only make a mess. I want to follow You better and seek You more. I want to honor you and help others grow closer to You! I love You. Guide and keep us. In Jesus name. Amen.