If you have never heard the story of Johnny Farese, I encourage you to take a moment to read this blog post, which sums up his life and his legacy after his going home to be with the Lord the other day. Completely paralyzed, Farese was determined to serve the Lord in any way he could. The impact he left despite his disabilities was remarkable. He was a vocal advocate for the pro-life cause, and he united the body of Christ through the creation of a global church directory and the circulation of a popular church newsletter with prayer requests gathered from a network of American Reformed Baptist churches.
Conservative reformed blogger Tom Chantry had this to say in the comments:
Johnny’s impact on the Reformed Baptist movement will probably never be properly calculated. When we were in the early years of starting a Reformed Baptist church in Milwaukee, probably half of the visitors we saw found us through the Farese List. For a startup work with limited means to make ourselves visible, his help from afar was a blessing from God. I have often wondered in how many places that blessing was duplicated.
Johnny himself said:
In light of my physical condition, I am often asked the age-old question, ‘How can an all-powerful God of love allow you to suffer in this way? Surely the Bible says that God always does what is right? Yes it does – and he does! I have come to see that suffering is one of the many ways in which God demonstrates his unfailing love to those who have come to put their trust in him. Writing out of his own painful experience, the Psalmist says, ‘It was good for me to be afflicted, so that I might learn your decrees’ (Psalm 119:71) – and I gladly endorse every word of that testimony…
Although I am bedridden, struggle to breathe comfortably, and often have to contend with painful bed sores, I count them as ‘light and momentary troubles’ (2 Corinthians 4:17) For all the difficulties they cause, I know that they are achieving for me ‘an eternal glory that far outweighs them all’ (2 Corinthians 4:17) How trivial they will all seem in the light of the eternal bliss that awaits God’s children in the world to come!
The post linked above shares a video testimony from which this passage is excerpted, as well as one of Farese’s videos promoting the sanctity of human life. If you have a moment, I believe you won’t regret the time spent getting to know this great saint, who is now absent from the body and present with his Lord.