Joseph Caleb Minotti - Prophet of God
Every time my wife was pregnant, (which seemed often), I would lay my hands on her tummy and pray for the babies. It seemed easy to hear from God about the children when I would do this. God was at work. Our children are being fearfully and wonderfully made right before our very eyes and as we would pray, God would give us a glimpse of what He was doing.
During the creation of Joseph, (Joey), while I would pray, I always got a very strong impression that this child would become a prophet of the God of Israel, a prophet of his Creator. What a grandiose vision God gave me. He is a prophet! He will speak the explicit word of God to his generation. Many will know God and His will because of this one! I told every one. I was so proud that we were going to have a prophet in our house!
The day of his birth was a day of anticipation. I was about to meet the prophet. But as this boy was born, something was wrong. Something was terribly wrong. He was barely moving. He had a look about him that was very different. He needed surgery on his intestine to even give him a chance to survive. We were told he had Downs Syndrome. I knew what that meant, he was "retarded", "developmentally disabled" if you want to be more politically correct.
What happened to our prophet? This boy couldnít be a prophet now. But wait. I have faith God will heal Joey. I know what God is going to do--He is going to heal Joey and then the world will know for sure that Joey is a prophet and they better listen carefully to him. How awesome! God takes a person that when a miracle is performed on them, no one would be able to deny it. Who could deny the miracle of having every chromosome in his body rearranged so he could be "normal"? That is what it would take, a mighty miracle leading to a mighty prophet of God. Instant prophet! Oh this is going to be glorious. God will get glory and the Son will get glory by Joseph the Prophet!
I have faith, I believe God. My wife believes God with every fiber of her being. We believe God. We believe His Son! Joey will grow, heíll changeóGod will use him! He is a mighty prophet.
Time passes and Joey did not develop. Not even on par with an average child with Downs Syndrome. He was not healed. He couldnít walk at one, two, three, four years old. It wasnít until Joey was nearly 5 that he took his first steps. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine years, and Joey spoke not one word. During that time his condition worsened. He had no communication at all that anyone could understand. Not a sign, not a verbal communication. Not a word. During these long difficult years in which my wife many times stood alone caring for Joey, things were very difficult and I began to loose sight of the fact that Joey was destined to be a prophet and speak to people about the things of God.
From time to time it would seem that the Spirit of God would remind me that Joey was in fact a prophet; but it became a very, very dim hope at best. How could this kid who needed diapers at nine, who found it impossible to communicate at all with people, who needed assistance with every task of life possibly, be a prophet? Lots of very difficult time passed, lots of prayer going up for him and nothing that we could see changed, except that things looked bleaker. Maybe I missed God.
During the last week of Joeyís life, something began to happen. Joey was faced with the most horrifying situation of his life. Please hear the prophet--He had blinded himself, mutilated his eyes as a result of behaviors which were not dealt with effectively.
Joey was facing surgery to try to save his sight. There was a chance. At the very worst moment in our lives and Joeyís life, we began to see a small portion of what Joey was communicating to us. I canít begin to tell you about all those secrets, but for the first time in 10 years I began to understand what Joey was telling us all along. The last week of his young life was by far the best for me since Joey came into our lives.
Within days of new hope and new vision into what the purpose and prophetic insight of Joeyís life is, Joey went to be with our Lord. The first night after his very untimely death at only 10 years old, I really began to understand what the prophet was saying. I am disappointed that I was only beginning to decipher his wonderful message at this late time. Now I canít tell him how wonderful he is and how awesome his message is and how much I appreciate him. I really didnít hear the prophet clearly until he was gone.
However, Joey was speaking loud and clear since the time of his birth. He shouted that he was broken. That his body didnít work. That his mind didnít work. His eyesight was dimmed and his hearing impaired. We could see that but what was he saying?
He was clearly speaking that we are all broken. It is only a matter of degrees and the degree of Joeyís brokenness was severe and visible. Because Joey was so badly broken does that mean that "normal" people like us are not broken? In contrast we are much better off, arenít we? No, the law of contrast doesnít say that because you are so much "better" than Joey that you are whole. That would be like saying if two people are dying an ugly death of pain from cancer or some other horrible disease, one is better off because he has money in the bank. Or that one not allowed through and welcomed into gates of the Kingdom of Heaven is better off than the others next to him with the same fate because he lived a luxurious, prosperous life on earth.
Joey says Iím not whole and neither are you. We are not different. We are the same. If there is any difference at all between you and I it is only in the level of assistance and help I need to live comfortably here on earth. Yes I do need more assistance than many people, but we are all broken and we all need assistance of differing degrees. We live in a fallen and sinful world together and I am no different than you.
You look at those with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, mental disorders, and other infirmities like they are some kind of different species. As if they are mistakes. As if God didnít create them. As if someone more powerful took over Godís creation and changed it to what they wanted. Not so. I am not a mistake any more than you are a mistake. Donít think that someone usurped Godís plan for me and caused me to be like this. God created me just as I am. He created me in the context of our fallen and broken and sinful world, and He is just in doing so. But donít feel sorry for me that He decided my condition. He created me with pleasure because He knows He will never lose me and He will redeem me and make me whole. Some of you He will lose. He creates taking the risk of whether or not you will choose to love Him and to receive the Son. Some, like me He creates knowing I am His forever.
God made me and others like me with purpose. Some He heals and uses to show his glory and some He leaves like we are and uses us to show His glory. Donít get uptight because He chooses to leave some of us broken during our life on earth. Ultimately everyone with diseases or genetic disorders will glorify God and prove His incredible love for all people. Make no mistake about it, He does heal some now and His plan is that everyone be made whole and be immortal. Everyone who believes Him, He will do it for.
We all have purpose. One of the many purposes of my life and condition is to be a visible sign, a clear marker of the brokenness of humanity. No one who knows me can deny the state of people on earth. We are not the only markersóthere are many others like sickness and poverty and crimes, but I and others like me are a powerful testimony of the fallen nature of our world and our lives. Canít you see it? We are so powerful a testimony that many look away in our presence. I am hyper-broken for you. To bring you face to face with our condition. We are not out of the woods yet. There are still sins and problems we must face and find Godís help for complete restoration. I am here to remind you of your need for God. If I wasnít here, you might have a tendency to feel more together than you really are. Iím here and I am designed to drive you towards your creator.
Unfortunately many do not want to look in the face of the brokenness of mankind and so they just avoid, they look away, and move on like nothing is wrong. They can not process the reality of being confronted with the picture that I represent. Because the reality is that I am nothing more than a mirror for those who I come into contact with and when they see me, they are looking at themselves. Those who do have the courage to look at me-- straight in the face of who I am will see themselves.
Joey also developed some very disturbing behaviors over the years. He had self-injurious behavior. What a horrible thing to behold. No one wants to see this. We lived with it for years. Most canít see it for more than a few minutes at a time. His behavior was clear. Anyone could easily diagnose his self-injurious behavior. Joey asks, have you or I ever exhibited self-injurious behavior? Truth be known, we all engage in self-injurious behavior. Sins we wonít let go of, grudges we hold onto like itís some kind of therapy for our souls, bitterness allowed to fester, hidden sins. Refusing to forgive, even though weíve been forgiven. Wrong choices, wrong thinking, selfish motives, bad decisions.
Most people will never see your self-injurious behaviors, but mine is out there for the whole world to see. The same way you can not look upon my behavior because of what I am doing to myself, your behaviors are just as ugly. Just as disturbing. Much of your behavior is not as visible as mine, but it can be just as damaging. I am here to remind you of how awful self-injurious behavior is. But self injury is only the first step. The next step moves is self mutilation. My self-injury led to self mutilation. And when something is mutilated it canít be restored but by the hand of God.
Itís important for everyone to see this picture--as a result of my continued, unchecked self injurious behavior; I eventually mutilated my ears and my eyes. My ears became dull of hearing and my eyes were blinded. Remember an injury can heal, mutilation is far worse. If you continue in your self injurious behavior, you will mutilate yourself. You will become unable to hear, unable to perceive, unable to understand. You will cloud your eyesight and become blind. You will not see light, you will not see truth.
My self injury was for a prophetic sign for you to understand what it leads to. I showed you as clearly as possible. This is a difficult but true part of the prophetic picture that I was sent to deliver to you. I have done my job. I have completed my assignment. Now I can move on into the fullness of what the King of the Universe has planned for my eternity. And I again willingly respond. Those who have ears to hear let them hear what the Spirit of God is saying.
Joey is a prophet sent by God, just as we were told at the beginning. There is so much more that Joey has spoken to his family. So much that he has delivered to us. As a result of knowing Joey many things were written on our hearts. Not with ink, but by the Spirit of God. Prophets like Joey are sent by God to change usóto direct us on a new or unseen path. Joey did this for us without speaking one word out of his mouth. Joey changed all the lives of our immediate family. Joey stretched those of us who lived with him to breaking and allowed us to suffer much and so he allowed us to love much and be acquainted with our God. Joey confronted us with the brokenness of life and changed us. Joey made us compassionate, caring and willing to help those created hyper-broken. Joey also gave me the opportunity to have relationship and rich fellowship with others like Joey that I would have not ever had otherwise. He gave me the opportunity and powerful privilege to become friends with those so broken that they are often forgotten.
Many are inclined to throw-away or at best, hide away these people so that those of us blessed with good health and sound minds wonít have to see or be confronted with the broken state of humanity. I thank God for Joseph Caleb Minotti. He has been used by God to shape who I am. In that sense he completed his mission. The prophet passed through our lives for 10 short years and we will never be the same again.
Joey always said; reach out to those who you donít understand. Be a peace maker. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Find God. Know Him. You believe in God, believe also in His Son. Trust Him and He will deliver you. Joey had a free ticket to heaven and will enjoy the benefits of God for all eternity. However, I will always appreciate that the price Joey paid to communicate to us was great. Joey is now absent from his broken body and is at home with the Lord. Thank you Joey, I love you forever and I will come to you soon. Joseph the Prophet lives forever.