Devotional Readings

Rebuilt by the Lord and LLUMC

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Revelation 21:4, 5, NKJV.

It was October 15, 1994. She was crying tears of joy as she was swept off her feet by Brian Robertson, No. 55 on Riverside (California) Christian School’s football team. You see, Mary Van Dyke had just been crowned homecoming queen.

Born July 12, 1977, with 23 physical and neurological anomalies, Mary was not supposed to survive infancy. It was thought she would never be able to do more than lift her head. Mary was born with the Mary Van Dyke syndrome, a condition so rare that her doctors at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Southern California later named it after her. But Mary was born a fighter. With encouragement from her big sister, Alice, and her parents, Pete and Pat Van Dyke, Mary learned to crawl, climb stairs, and eventually to walk with the help of a tiny aluminum walker.

When Mary was just 3, her mother made a T-shirt with a message emblazoned over the chest, “REBUILT BY THE LORD AND LLUMC.” When she was 8, her medical records weighed more than she did. Mary has had heart surgery to repair a hole in her heart. She has undergone hip construction, hand surgeries, ear surgeries, and all kinds of facial reconstruction.

Just before her 31st operation, before a cheering crowd, 17-year-old Mary Van Dyke walked onto the field to be named homecoming queen of Riverside Christian School. The determined teenager has earned an “A” average and the admiration of an entire school. Many fought to maintain their composure as an astonished Mary was crowned and handed a bouquet of red roses. That’s when her escort, Brian, swooped her into his arms and carried her off the field.

“After everything she’s gone through,” said school administrator Vance Nichols, “I just can’t stop crying.” In a feature published the next day in the Riverside Press Enterprise, Nichols said, “Our school is a better place because of her. My faith is a stronger one because of her.”

According to her mother, Mary faces a lifetime of periodic surgery for various problems. For strength, Mary will continue to rely on her faith in God. Mary Van Dyke is a royal inspiration.

Thank You, Lord, for the day when we can all wear the message on our heavenly robes, “Rebuilt by the Lord!”

–Richard A. Schaefer


from Fit Forever: One-A-Day Devotionals for Body, Mind, and Spirit
Kay Kuzma (editor) | Review & Herald (2005)
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