Wayne Jacobson once said, “Whenever we are frustrated that God is not opening doors for us it might be a sign that we’re focused on the wrong doors. The kingdom grows in our heart through the organic reality of living loved and following him, not by finding the right strategy.” I found this concept regarding my walk with the Lord fascinating and exciting…..it brought me to a place in life where I could look at each day as an adventure as I asked the Lord to bring into my life that day what He wanted me to do and who He wanted me to share with. No expectations but simple faith!!
Chapter 20: Back to my calling
I never anticipated that I would go back into ‘ministry’. I was looking at ministry as something you “do” for the Lord outside of your every day life. I had always thought ministry was something that set me apart from the church as having a special calling; one separate from my life as a whole. It was another “works” thing I could do for Him, not as a part of body life. What an eye opener to realize that true ministry is just living a daily walk with Jesus, wherever that takes me, in every encounter I have and every chore of the day. He is central to all I do. I seek to be centered in Him.
Because I was learning to live outside the structure I came to discover a deepening relationship with God and began to experience a positive connection with believers that didn’t compare to the positive relationships that I found in the churches I had gone to. Instead of losing my passion for Jesus my love for the church in general was a new awakening for me. I found myself contemplating this in my new walk with God. People who were changing in the way they looked at church gatherings, myself included, weren’t doing so because they were rejecting or disobeying God. But it was because they had found there was a lack of freedom in Christ due to all the rules and regulations taught by man. Many of the church gatherings were actually hindering their walk of faith with God. Their excitement about God was gone. Why? Because He came to set us free from those very rules we were trying to live up to, much like the Old Testament laws the Pharisees refused to give up even though Jesus came to fulfill the works of the law. He just wants a relationship with us that will flow out from us to the rest of His body, the body of Christ. Greg and I began to see our ministry life flowing together and soon were learning to appreciate our different callings. It wasn’t long before we began to experience the Lord’s supernatural leading together. The following chapter is one such example of one of our adventures with the Lord.
Chapter Twenty One: THE ENDLESS HALLWAY
The long dark hallway seemed to go on forever as we made our way to my Grandpa’s room at the end of the long corridor. The foreboding smells of old people and urine permeated the convalescent home where Grandpa Dick was being cared for in his last days on this earth. We were coming to say good-bye.
I have never been one to feel the call to the sometimes forgotten generation of the aged, as the sights and sounds of these institutions have always creeped me out. I try to be spiritual about making visits but, truth be known, it terrifies me. Why, I don’t know. It is not like some poor soul in a wheel chair is going to jump up and grab me. I think the horror of watching some little old lady clutching a doll as if it is her baby or some gentlemanly soul calling out for his long ago love actually makes us all look at our own mortality.
As Greg and I made our way down that corridor holding hands, we both heard a distant voice crying out, “Help me, help me, won’t someone come help me”, over and over. We didn’t even look at each other, we just kept walking. We continued to hear the cry for help but assumed a nurse would see to the gentleman. Lord knows we didn’t want to search out the voice in some scary, dark corridor. So, we both acted like we didn’t hear it, being the spiritual man and woman that we are.
We visited Grandpa and said our good-byes. I kissed him and said when I got to heaven I would meet him just inside the Eastern gate. Being in a light coma, he couldn’t respond but there was a definite reaction from him and I knew he was saying, “Yep, Dickie, (that is what he called me), I will meet you there, and I’ll have Grandma with me.” Having said our tearful good byes, we started our descent back down that seemingly endless dark corridor. I knew Grandpa was in Jesus’ loving arms so I was just in a hurry to escape that place of unpleasantness.
Not far down the hall we heard the voice again. “Won’t someone out there please help me?” At first we sped up to escape our discomfort. But then the Holy Spirit spoke to us both at the same time. We stopped abruptly, turned and looked at each other and knew we were to search out the voice. Drawing courage from one another we cautiously started peering in rooms until we found the source of the cries for help.
There, lying in a bed, was a perfectly sane looking elderly man, who I thought resembled Charlton Heston. I am a romantic at heart. When we walked into his room to see what he was crying out for, he saw us, and said, “Finally, someone has heard me. I am freezing to death. Please give me another blanket.” (For some reason we never once saw a nurse while there). I promptly grabbed a blanket off the nearby shelf and tucked it securely around him. He thanked us profusely.
Greg, having an evangelistic heart, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to speak to the man about his soul. He approached the side of his bed and said, “Sir, I perceive you to be an intelligent man and one who makes wise decisions.” This got the old man’s attention. He said, “Well, son I try to do my best.” Greg asked, “Have you considered where you will go when your time on this earth is through?” The man said, “No, haven’t given it much thought, son.” “Are you interested in hearing how you can go to heaven when you die?” Greg said. “Well, yes, I believe I would like to hear how to do that, now that you are here.” The man said. Greg proceeded to share the good news of the gospel with him, showing him that the way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. He then asked the man if he would like to accept Jesus as his savior. The man answered, “Yes, son, I believe I am ready to do that.” I watched in absolute wonder as Greg introduced this man to the Lord Jesus. I realized at that moment that the cry for help was not really for a blanket, it was the cry of this lost soul before he was taken into eternity.
At the conclusion of their prayer together a woman entered the room with a puzzled look on her face. Knowing she was wondering who these strangers were with her loved one I was quick to introduce ourselves and explain what had happened from the moment we heard his cries out in the corridor. I told her that we were called into the room and that Greg had just led her family member to Christ. She started crying and said she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “You are not going to believe this, but this man’s son is a Pastor in Ireland. He has a church body that meets in a castle. He and his congregation have been praying every day for his Dad to meet Christ before he is taken into eternity.”
We were truly amazed at God’s ways. Who knew that was the plan all along on that particular day and the reason why we were to go to that convalescent home. We thought it was to say good bye to Grandpa; but God had greater plans of bringing another family member into the fold at the persistent prayers of a beloved son. I don’t even know the elderly man’s name but I do know I will see him in heaven.
I cannot remember ever seeing anyone else in that building during the time we were there, walking the hallways and making our visit that day. I know they were there. But I never saw one patient except Grandpa and the old man, and not one nurse. I believe the angels cleared them all out because a lost soul crying for help was about to be transformed.
I was learning that true ministry is about being available in the midst of God’s journey for you. Any moment of the day we should be available for whomever He brings into our paths.
Coming next: Til We Meet Again