Paul Davis - Blind and Crippled but with a Passion for Prayer |

Paul Davis - Blind and Crippled but with a Passion for Prayer

York, Dick
Newby, Ed

Paul Davis had been the chief procurement officer for the State of Washington in the 1930s-40s--a task that involved the expenditure of millions of dollars and tremendous authority. Tragically, an arthritic condition developed which gradually stole his mobility, eventually claimed his eyesight, and rendered him nearly deaf. His wife, not wanting to be tied to an invalid, took their son and left.

Frustrated, lonely, and seething with bitterness, he lay helpless on his bed. One day, his Christian nurse left the radio on, tuned to a Christian station. Paul screamed and cursed at first, but then a "Haven of Rest" broadcast featured a program filled with hymns proclaiming the message of the hope of God. The announcer told of a Jesus who lifted men out of darkness and changed their lonely lives. Paul's spirit became calm, his almost sightless eyes filled with tears, and a longing to know Jesus filled his heart. The bitterness faded away as he called on the name of the Lord.

While his heart changed, his physical condition worsened. Eventually, his mobility was reduced to a single finger on one hand. Incredibly, the eternal hope he now had in Christ inspired him to use his nearly useless body in the service of his Savior. Determined to "publish with the voice of thanksgiving and tell of all thy wondrous works" (Psalm:26:7), he learned to use his finger to manipulate a switch activating a telephone. A telephone amplifier over his head connected him to the outside world, feeding sound to his ears and letting his muffled voice go out over that same phone line.

Later, although still unable to move from his bed, Paul published (by God's truly amazing grace) a little magazine called The Glory Road, which was mailed to shut-ins around the world. Several women read to him over the telephone an incredible volume of scripture, which he memorized and quoted. He edited articles from other publications to include in The Glory Road, and dictated articles of his own. When time allowed, he would call the operator and ask her to begin dialing numbers of people from the phone listings. "Let's start with B," he might say. Those who answered would hear a joyous but curiously strained voice begin to tell them about his Savior.

Meanwhile, after the Korean War, a man named Harry Holt, along with his wife, Bertha, learned of the many children fathered by American soldiers and living as orphans. The Holts adopted eight Korean children, who were added to their existing family of six children. The Holts began helping others to adopt, and what began as something run from the Holt's kitchen table in Creswell, Oregon, grew into a major adoption movement called Holt International Children's Services. Bertha (now deceased) wrote that nothing was accomplished, or even attempted, without prayer. In her 1956 book, The Seed From the East, mention is made of many in the Eugene, Oregon, area who assisted in this major undertaking, particularly in their offers to uphold them in prayer. The individual mentioned most often, however, was Paul Davis, who, on hearing of the Holt's endeavor, had become a passionate prayer partner.

Among those influenced by Paul Davis was Dick York, who established the Shield of Faith Rescue Mission in Eugene, Oregon, now known as the Eugene Mission. Dick, in turn, went on to Korea as a missionary and, to this day, continues missionary training and teaching at Shield of Faith Mission International. Of Paul's testimony, Dick wrote: "I had read Isaiah:35:1-6 [Paul's favorite passage of Scripture, which begins with the description of a time when "the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose" and ends with a promise that God has appointed a time when "the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a deer"] many times. But now as I read it, tears began to fill my eyes. Here was my friend, lame and blind and partially deaf. This was his hope, and because he believed it, he could wait with unexplainable joy for the day he knew would come as surely as tomorrow's sunrise. There were thousands at that very hour, far less impaired in their bodies than Paul, who were filled with bitterness, soaking in self-pity, experiencing loneliness and unhappiness, waiting to die without hope. But there were others, reading his magazine, or having it read to them, who were hearing of his hope, and probably experiencing the contagion of his joy, who were being encouraged to look up to Him who is 'the author and finisher of our faith' (Hebrews:12:2)."

One day, Paul Davis summed up what he had learned from the Lord: "I know what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, 'All things work together for good to them that love God; to them who are the called according to his purpose' (Romans:8:28). This arthritis has destroyed my body, but through it God has saved my soul."