It started at conception. A genetic defect that would profoundly alter three lives — four, including mine, too.
The seeds of tragedy, pain and victory were born in a tiny little boy named Tyler Lee on May 22, 1984. I held him for the first time when he was not quite 12 hours old. His parents were — and are — my two best friends. And now I had a third best friend, this perfect miracle, this baby boy.
By the time he was six months, we all noticed something wrong. He wasn’t sitting up. He had trouble rolling over. Constant constipation plagued him. At eight months, his parents took him to a specialist. Emotional, uncertain days and many tests later, their doctor told them, “I’m very sorry. Your baby has Hoffman-Werding disease. It’s the most virulent form of muscular dystrophy”. Into the silence that followed his words, the doctor added, “Tyler will never walk, probably never sit up. He probably won’t live much beyond the age of 2”. The tests clearly confirmed the terrible diagnosis. Tyler had almost no muscle development. Not even his intestines could work properly.
That night we sat silently together, sharing our tears, holding and cherishing their little Tyler. The pain was too new, too raw.
They called me on Sunday to say that they were having a prayer meeting with friends and the elders from their church Monday night. They were going to anoint Tyler with oil and ask for God’s healing — in faith that no matter what the answer was, God knew best and loved Tyler even more than they did. Of course I’d be there, even though absolutely nothing in my conservative background had ever considered such a bold assault on Heaven. Monday evening the elders from their church and their closest friends gathered in the family room with Tyler. Heart joined heart in prayers both silent and verbal as we approached the Throne of Heaven for Tyler’s healing. There was one focus, one accord, one hope in God our Heavenly Father.
The next day, Tuesday, Tyler had another appointment with the specialist. His parents called me the moment they reached home. “He’s healed — completely! God gave us our miracle!” God instantly, miraculously, divinely healed Tyler Lee Roark that night. Where there had been no muscle function, now every muscle function in his body tested absolutely normal that Tuesday morning. “It’s a miracle”, his doctor said, “I can’t explain it. He’s a perfectly normal eight-month-old baby. Take him home”.
Today, Tyler is a healthy, active 11-year-old who gave his heart to Jesus as Saviour five years ago. Tyler holds national long-distance track titles and state records in both Iowa and Oklahoma. Untrained and uncoached, Tyler’s running ability is a gift. He started setting state records when he was 9; his first national title came as a 10-year-old. He has a room filled with trophies and ribbons … and a humble spirit that lets him enjoy running — whether he wins or loses. He’s the first to congratulate others and be happy for them if they win. He knows that winning isn’t the only reason he’s there. He knows that his ability is a gift from God and that he’s there to glorify his Heavenly Father by running, by doing his best, and showing others Christ in him.
God has chosen to give Tyler a tremendous athletic ability that has brought him media attention, both TV and newspaper. And in every interview, his parents joyfully give God the glory and tell how Tyler was healed.
By Mary Nelson, from “A Double Dose of God’s Vitamin C for the Spirit”