OK so I am feeling a little sorry for myself today, I wish I had some chocolate or a Pralines and Cream ice cream cone from Baskin Robbins, they do say that confession is good for the soul, right? Valentine’s Day has passed and now we head toward the season of Lent and the celebration of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus! I would love to hear the beautiful and powerful song Bill Gaither penned: I’ve just seen Jesus, I tell you He’s alive, I’ve just seen Jesus, our precious Lord alive, And I knew He really saw me too, As if till now I’d never lived, All that I’d done before won’t matter anymore, I’ve just seen Jesus and I’ll never be the same again. I can listen to that song as Sandi Patti and Larnelle Harris sing and with my eyes closed I can see the scene playing out as they describe going to the tomb of Jesus to see that He had indeed risen from the dead and was actually alive!
A few days before my dad finally made his trip to heaven he was very low and I thought he would be gone in a few moments, I played that song on my IPhone and held it up to his ear. Hi eyes were closed but as he listened and it got to that moment where they sing, “I’ve just seen Jesus”, he broke into out loud tears and said, and “Yes Lord I can see you”. From that moment on that Thursday afternoon he perked up and asked for something to eat after I had been urging him all day long to eat with no success. It wasn’t by chance that I played that particular song as I had often played it for him as we were out for a ride. In my mind’s eye I can still see the way he reacted to it as he listened, I would glance at him in my rear view mirror. His wheel chair was secured right behind the driver’s seat and I would look at him when ever we stopped at a light or it was safe because I knew that one day I would look into that mirror and would no longer see him except in my vivid memory and imagination. Anytime that song would play it got the same reaction so I knew his spirit was tuned into that song and hearing the name of Jesus, yes he was seeing a vision of his own self standing in front of the Man whom he had served since he was just a young man and he was stirred.
More than once I heard him tell of a time that he was very discouraged. He and my mother were traveling evangelists and having a tough time paying their bills plus feeding and caring for an infant. The reason he was discouraged he never related to any audience he where he spoke but I heard him talk about it with my mother enough times to know it well and now I am going to tell you. Daddy was a dedicated minister and what you saw was what you got. At that time there was another evangelist that was making all the rounds of the churches saying that he had been “injured” in the war and was crippled. He would hobble up to the pulpit and tell his sad story as he cried and the congregation would open their heart and their purses to help this injured veteran to make it one more week. My dad had felt sorry for him also and didn’t resent the fact that this young preacher was getting invited to churches to have revivals on his pitiful story alone, that is until he was driving along one day and saw this same preacher changing a tire on the side of the road, kneeling on his “stiff” leg, the inured one, the one that wouldn’t bend because his knee had been blown out by a bullet from enemy fire and he was waiting for his Purple Heart to be awarded to him. Daddy never let the man know that he had seen him and never gave him up as a fake because he didn’t want honest people to feel duped by a charlatan who was out to make a dollar from their soft heart. That was the incident that brought him to his knees in my granddaddy’s office in the Tremont Avenue Church of God. Kneeling there at a leather chair, which was placed at an angle to the wall leaving a space between the back of the chair and the wall in the corner. My dad spoke to the Lord in his distress telling Him that he was quitting the ministry, asking why it was that this fake prophet was doing well and was a respected preacher while he was struggling to make ends meet. He said that he looked up and saw Jesus standing there with His arms extended to him and He began to speak saying, “My son I am coming soon and when I come my reward is with me.” Daddy wondered at the fact that his complaint was not addressed at all, just the encouragement that the Lord would come and his reward would be with Him!
Are you discouraged? Do you feel like you have been passed over for a promotion when you have worked hard? Do you feel as if your prayers are hitting brass ceilings and bouncing back onto your head? Maybe you need to have a little one-on-one with the Lord and be assured that He knows all about you.
Psalms 139:1-6 “God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too—your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful—I can’t take it all in!”
I’ll end by quoting the words from another old hymn, “If when you’ve tried and failed in you’re trying, hands sore and scarred from the work you’ve begun Take up your cross and come quickly to Jesus, He’ll understand and say well done.”