Alan Barnes, 67, is only 4’6″ tall and nearly blind. He was thrust into the limelight this past January when he was brutally attacked by a drug addict looking for money.
Barnes was rolling out his garbage bins when it happened. He suffered severe injuries including a broken collar-bone.
After the assault, Barnes, who came by his disabilities when his mother caught the German measles while pregnant with Alan, was too scared to leave his home.
His story became headline news in the media throughout England. People were outraged by the brutality and senselessness of the attack.
When beautician Katie Cutler heard what happened, she organized a fund-raising campaign hoping to raise £500 to help Barnes. However, as news spread the donations started pouring in and in a matter of weeks the total hit £350,155.
Barnes was shocked. In interviews, he said ‘thank you’ seemed hardly enough for the outflow of generosity.
The money allowed Alan to move out of the disability complex where he lived and buy his own terraced home for £150,000 pounds.
Though he enjoyed his new place, when friends asked him how he was doing, Alan could never give them a heart-felt response. The house was wonderful but for some reason he never felt settled. Because he wasn’t bonding with his new home, Alan never used his left-over funds to properly furnish his flat.
Looking back, the reason for this hesitancy may have been spiritual. God had other plans.
In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, Barnes said his house is now up for sale and he plans to move to the Shetland Islands located off the Northwest coast of Scotland — population 23,210.
“I have had a calling from God to go to the Shetland Islands. I’m hoping to do some youth work there.
It came to me while I was praying. I’m very open to the Holy Spirit. I have never been to Shetland before, but when you get a calling from God you can’t ignore it. I have just got a strong feeling that’s where I need to be.”
Barnes hopes to sell his home for £155,000 and along with the rest of the money he received set up some type of ministry work on the island.
“Whenever anyone stops and talks to me all they ask is how I am settling in. But I’d much rather talk about my Christian faith. .. It’s really exciting. I could just stay here but I’m not going to ignore the call from God.”
At 67, Barnes is still willing to obey the call of God despite his handicaps. God’s call is never based on a person’s ability or age, but rather their willingness.
God, it seems, still has a purpose for Alan.
I can’t think of a better story to explain the Apostle Paul’s words in the book of Romans:
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NASV)
Through our trials and struggles God brings out good.
In fact, it is more than that. Trials are the mortar and stone, the very building material, that God uses to create the good and fulfill His call in your life.
- Disabled pensioner Alan Barnes is selling the £150,000 home he bought with donations after he was mugged and moving to the Shetland Isles after having a ‘calling from God’: Daily Mail
- Shetland Islands Photo: Hamish Irvine/Flickr