August 30, 2003 was a day that changed Ricky Taylor’s life forever.
He was laying down on the top bunk of a bed in a jail cell. He was there over a traffic violation. Suddenly, the bed collapsed underneath him. Mr. Taylor sustained injuries that affected his vision, damaged his heart, and left him paralyzed from the waist down.
After his accident, Mr. Taylor spent six months in the hospital unable to move. He could barely turn his head from side to side. Eventually, through rehab, he was able to recover enough to get around on his own in a wheelchair. He then spent a lot of his time ministering to others who, like him, achieve mobility through the use of a wheelchair.
“A lot of people are angry at God for them being in a wheelchair. But I told them, make sure they put God first and be humble.”
Mr. Taylor does not blame God for what happened to him. “Some things are just human accidents,” he says. Despite the difficult circumstances of his own life, he always wanted to give back to the community as much as he could.
“You know,” he says, “I am in need, but there are others even more in need.”
However, Mr. Taylor was incarcerated between the years 2004 and 2008 and there was little he could do to help those in need. He had been arrested for a crime he did not commit, and this would not be the first time. Someone was using his identity, and it took a very long time for the criminal justice system to sort it out. He spent four years in prison while in a wheel chair, but his faith remained strong for the duration.
“I became very close to the Lord,” he says, “I learned to be patient, humble, and thanks-giving.”
Mr. Taylor strived to be more like Jesus with every action. “[Jesus] was the last thing [Jesus] thought about.” So, he knew he needed to overlook his own paralysis and focus on the needs of others.
He taught his son to have a similar faith. In 2010, seven years after his accident, Mr. Taylor’s young son came to him and told him that he believed his father would be healed by God.
Mr. Taylor thought about Luke Chapter 5 from the Bible, in which Jesus heals a paralyzed man due to the faith of his friends. “I thought, if my son can have that much faith, I have to have that much faith and believe as well.”
So, in November of 2010, Ricky Taylor stood up on his own for the first time since 2003.
Today, Mr. Taylor can walk right through the doors of GBM with nothing more than a walking stick for a little added support. With a huge smile on his face, he says, “I love the Lord so much, because he has performed an actual miracle in my life.”
And a miracle it was. Back in 2010, after that first step, Mr. Taylor started to pray hard, anointed his legs with oil daily, and went to Cooper Green Hospital to have his progress checked out. He was relieved to find he could indeed walk, with the assistance of a cane. Before, there was talk of amputating his legs.
“I haven’t ran yet, but I am able to walk around and do things I never thought I would be able to do again.”
Beyond providing him with food assistance, Mr. Taylor says GBM has been instrumental in his faith journey. “GBM has shown me to love everybody, how God loves everybody.”
It’s stories like these that keep us going, here at GBM. The work of GBM, for some, may begin with food, clothes or utility assistance, but it rarely ends there. The work of GBM is a journey of faith and hope, and most importantly, it is a journey we are on together. When you support GBM – through a donation of money, food, or clothes; volunteering your time or activism in the pursuit of a more just society – you are joining in this journey with all the many others who connect with GBM in so many different ways. Thank you for your continued support of our shared work and for all you bring that shapes the very identity of Greater Birmingham Ministries.