Joel Haler "one of the most prolific basketball placers in the city's history," when he was paralyzed from the waist down. Now he's giving glory to God and thankful for the ordeal that brought him into a right relationship with Him.
(New Castle, IN)—When people in New Castle talk about "The Miracle" everyone knows exactly who experienced the miracle and why. (Photo via WTHR)
20-year-old Joel Haler, said to be "one of the most prolific basketball placers in the city's history," was reportedly one day in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, and the next day walking.
Numerous reports say Haler's paralysis started when he woke up one morning in his dorm at Hope College last October and couldn't move. After some of the "finest doctors in the country" could not help him, he started Robotic Walking Therapy. When that didn't work, Haler was said to have accepted the fact that there were "no answers" and that he had to accept the inevitable.
"Before being paralyzed," said Haler, I focused on being the guy everyone like… I was a people pleaser. [But then] I had all this time to just think."
"All this time I thought I was a pretty good person," he added. "I'm a pastor's kid. I thought I was living the right way. But being alone with my thoughts, I realized there was a lot of work God had to do in me still. I wanted things to change on my time, but God's timing was different."
Joel became so despondent, he is quoted as saying he got "sick of hearing about their prayers." (Photo via WTHR)
Then he had a dream. He saw a calendar that only said "J23."
"I was thinking maybe it was a date," said Joel. "Maybe J-23 meant June 23, or July. I quickly flipped to June to see if the 23rd fell on a Thursday, it didn't. Then I went to July to see if it was on a Thursday, and it wasn't either. I was a little discouraged. Doctors had told me that if I ever did regain feeling in my legs I would still have to relearn how to walk. So I didn't even think about looking at January, it was just too soon. But then I decided I would try January anyway. I turned the calendar and right there I saw Jan. 23 was on a Thursday. I knew I had my sign."
According to various sources, that "sign" was confirmed shortly later when Braxton Farmer, a little four-year-old boy at his church, came up to him and said, "You will walk on a Thursday."
Which is exactly what happened.
On Wednesday night, January 22, Joel woke up to tingling in his toes that turned into extreme pain running up his legs. After an hour-and-a-half suddenly he had an "unusual feeling. (Photo via WTHR)
"I wiggled my toes," he said, "and I thought, 'Oh my gosh.' Then I walked into my parents' room. 'Mom and dad, look!'"
Haler's father Eric, pastor of New Covenant Worship Center, said, "I burst into tears. It's hard seeing your son not be able to walk… but he was walking."
"This is all God," said Joel. "I'm just being used."
Recently, he gave his testimony at church. "I am glad I went through that fight," he said. "I needed this to know who I am and what I'm supposed to do with my life. I hated every second of it, but I needed it."