"Great Joy In That City"

By Revs. Al and Deb Warner

“Buffalo native celebrates miracle!” So read the headline of the Buffalo News on October 22, 2010. Let that sink in for a minute my friend. The words “Buffalo” and “miracle” in the same breath. This is not a reference to a fabulous football play by the Bills nor a spectacular hockey play by the Sabres, but rather a miracle of the divine kind. Local news reporter Lorey Schultz (WIVB Channel 4) headlined her report “Woman walks after decades in wheelchair.”

If you watched the WNY news coverage of Delia Knox on October 21 and 22, you may have been intrigued, excited, skeptical, or a little of all three. As Paul Harvey loved to say, “This is the rest of the story.”

Delia Knox is a gospel singer, and a frequent guest on Christian television and radio. Most importantly to us, she is a Buffalo native. She is the daughter of Pastors Jose and Emilia Roman, Jersey Street, Buffalo, and identical twin sister of Enid McGinnis.

On Christmas Eve, 1987, at 25 years of age, an automobile accident left Delia paralyzed from the waist down. But even in a wheelchair, she was determined she would not be slowed down. Her passion was to serve God with her whole being. No wheelchair could keep her from that. As Delia said, “I don’t allow this wheelchair to control me, I control it!”

“If my pillow could speak, it would say, ”God has been good to me!” These were the words Delia sang many times while ‘dancing’ in her wheelchair.

Nine years ago, Delia married Bishop Levy Knox, and moved to minister with him at the Living Word Christian Center in Mobile, Alabama. On August 27, 2010, Bishop and Delia attended special meetings at the Mobile Convention Center hosted by Rev. John Kilpatrick. Delia did not know it, but this would be her red-letter day. The Knox’s were about to leave the meeting when a mother brought her sick baby forward for prayer. Miraculously, as Delia prayed with compassion for the baby she began to have sensation in her own legs. Evangelist Nathan Morris laid hands on Delia, and prayed fervently. Eyewitness Dr. Larry Martin told us, “Evangelist Nathan Morris had the faith and boldness to call Delia forward and pray for her, and the entire congregation interceded for probably an hour with the most passion I have ever witnessed in my life! Three elements came together: Delia’s faith, Nathan’s persistence, and the congregation’s intercession. Nathan was willing to be embarrassed to see a miracle!”

Muscles that had not been used in 22 years began to come alive. God had heard the daily prayers of Delia, her godly mother, the evangelist, the congregation and so many others. Faltering at first, Delia slowly rose from her wheelchair and walked!!! When her mother was asked, “Were you surprised?” she answered, “No, I was expecting this day to happen for 22 years!”

Pastor Tommy Reid, Full Gospel Tabernacle, Orchard Park gave us a sense of the prayers that led to Delia’s healing. Several years ago, Rev. Aimee Reid-Sych, best friend of Delia, had a vision in which she saw Delia seated in her wheelchair on the crest of a world globe. Suddenly, with the eyes of the whole world seeing the intervention of God in Delia’s life, Delia emerged from that wheelchair and began to walk. It was as if God had placed this young woman of God in a position where the entire world would view the miracle as she took her first steps. And now, the miracle has happened and the world did see the actual moment when she took her first steps. The world saw as Delia’s healing became an international sensation on the Internet, with over 400,000 hits on YouTube as of November. The video clip has been shown in hundreds of churches and homes as far away as Amsterdam.

Is there a common response when this video clip is shown? HOPE is rekindled. Faith is released. Tears of joy are typically present.

For those of us who live in Buffalo, those of us who have known Delia up-close and personal, for those of us who have helped lift her wheelchair on to platforms – Thursday, October 21st was Delia’s time to come home to Buffalo.

As we drove to Delia’s parents home on Jersey Street, among the lawn signs for every political leader imaginable were lawn signs that were of a radically different flavor:
Walkin’ Home Delia
“And there was much joy in the city’
Acts 8:8

The assembled crowd eagerly waited to celebrate Delia walking up the steps into her parent’s waiting arms. We were not disappointed. We saw with our own eyes what we had only seen on video. Delia walked as we wept with joy. Gloria Dios! Praise God! There was not a dry eye to be seen.

This was not the first time joy came to this neighborhood. November, 2009, just 3 minutes away, God answered another woman’s prayer – Delores Powell of Home Makeover fame. Delores was struggling to care for her family in impossible conditions, and cried out to God for help. Her prayer was not just for herself, but included compassion for her fellow neighbors. God sent Extreme Makeover as a catalyst. Thousands volunteered to transform not just the Powell home, but the surrounding neighborhood with 29 homes impacted, including new roofs, porches, painting, 109 trees planted, sidewalks poured, and 3 new parks built. As Jim McGinnis (Full Gospel Tabernacle) said, “There was a door God placed in front of us. I believe when we walked through that door, God poured out His blessings. He poured out and showed us what the Church is supposed to do in the City of Buffalo.”

But God was not done with Delia in our city yet. Friday, October 22nd, Bishop Levi and Delia returned to Delia’s home church, the Full Gospel Tabernacle under the leadership of Pastor Tommy Reid. Everyone was invited to come and see Delia in person. The sanctuary was packed, and the air was electric. Pastors from all over the city – Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians – came and brought their congregations. Multi-race, multi-denomination, sounds more like Heaven than Buffalo -- all waiting with great anticipation to personally see Delia walking for themselves. The video of Delia’s healing from August 27th was shown.

Finally, Delia came walking out in her high heels! The crowd spontaneously rose to their feet with praises to God for His amazing miracle! As Delia ministered, people
came out of wheelchairs, deaf ears were opened, a man with 8 screws and metal rods in his back was instantaneously healed and began to touch his toes and dance across the platform. Glory to God!!!

What is the meaning of this miracle? Pastor Tommy Reid had some thoughts:
“This miracle signifies that God is about to visit his world in unprecedented power again.  I believe we are about to experience God and His miraculous intervention as we have never experienced God before. We have seen an unbelievable miracle, but most of all WE HAVE SEEN JESUS!  ...I am believing and I know nothing will ever be the same again."

Is there a larger picture for Buffalo? Could it be that as Delia came out of her wheelchair after decades of being crippled that God is about to call our crippled City of Buffalo out of decades of hopelessness and helplessness? Could this be bigger than we yet know?

Those of us who were there will never forget the moment our faith became sight. This is a move of compassion! “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” Matt. 14:14

So if your pillow could speak, what would it say?
Delia Knox’s pillow says, “GOD HAS BEEN GOOD TO ME!”
Delores Powell’s pillow says, “GOD HAS BEEN GOOD TO ME!“
My pillow is shouting from the rooftop, “GOD HAS BEEN GOOD TO ME!“
Listen, I think I hear your pillow speaking even now, “GOD HAS BEEN GOOD TO ME!“