Heard in a Church Lobby

December 19, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

I got to church earlier than usual on a Wednesday night, and walked into the church lobby. We’re pretty traditional. That’s our night for prayer and Bible study. My wife runs our AWANA Clubs upstairs.

Ray is one of our ushers, and tonight he was looking for something. Two young teen girls were standing in the middle of the room looking lost. I greeted them, and waved to Ray. He stopped, looked at me, and asked if I could help them. They wanted to know if there was an AWANA meeting tonight.

“Tonight’s your lucky night,” I said. “My wife runs the whole thing. I’ll take you upstairs.”

The worried look went out of Ray’s face when I took over the care of the girls, who it turned out were in fifth and sixth grades. When I got back downstairs, he was seated in one of the wing-back chairs sorting through some Christmas cards he was giving out.

“You’re a good guy, Ray. Not many men would go to all that trouble to make sure people got Christmas cards.”

He leaned toward me, and I could see that he hadn’t heard me well. Ray’s seventy-eight years old. I repeated what I’d said, and he replied, “It’s not too hard when your wife leaves you the list. Barbara left me the whole list.”

Barbara had died a couple of years ago from colon cancer. He wasn’t going to be getting over her absence any time too soon.

“She made me promise I’d do this. There’s only one promise she made me make that I’m not going to keep.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“She was laying on the hospital bed just before she died, and she made me promise her I’d remarry after she was gone.” He looked up at me from the chair. “I can’t keep that promise. There’ll never be anyone else as sweet as her.”

“She was worried about you. She didn’t want you to be alone,“ I said. I know something about that. My own wife died just short of our twenty-sixth anniversary when I was forty-four. I knew what that loneliness was like.

“You may still remarry. Maybe someone almost as sweet as she was,” I said.

“No, I don’t think so.”

He began to relate some of his story to me. I’d known Ray for twelve or thirteen years, but I was thrilled as I heard him tell how God had worked in his life, starting way back in 1936. Seventeen years old, and he went into the Army. Married his sweet wife. Adopted two children from rough backgrounds, loved and raised them as their own.

Now he’s watching out for his granddaughter and her husband. Another answer to prayer, he says. He and Barb prayed for her to meet some good young man. They even picked a couple good prospects out. Sure enough, she’s married to one of them.

Ray’s an Army retiree. He’s spending what’s left of his life serving the Lord in every way he can, and doing his level best to help that young couple get a solid start in life.

There was a lot more to Ray’s story than I’m telling here. But I’ll wager you’ve met people like Ray, too. It’s the stories like his, that you want to have become yours.

The greatest joy we’ll ever know as a believer in Jesus Christ is to hear His words one shining day, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of thy Lord.”

I know at least one guy who can expect to hear just that. And now you do, too.

*  Matthew 25:23 “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”


Category: Christian

About the Author ()

Suspense fiction writer. I have a wife whom I love, and five children ranging from college to middle age. I love each one. I've worked a day job as a senior software developer since 1999. Previous to that I spent nearly thirty years as a foreign missionary in Vietnam and China. Yes, I speak Chinese as a second language :-)

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