I praise God for my friendship with an old godly Korean ‘saint’

Let My Praises Be Heard!


With the aforementioned ‘rationale’ given (for not attempting to profile the lives of several of my friends), I do, however, wish to offer a brief profile of one of my friends – an old friend whom I met when she was, at the time, very old- a Korean woman who came to live with her daughter and son-in- law in Fort Collins, Colorado.

She attended the church where I was the pastor, at the time- the Free Methodist Church. She was unique, in many ways, and she was one of the godliest women that I ever ‘knew’! When I use the word ‘knew’, I use that word with some qualifications.

This old lady – a lady whose face was full of wrinkles, beautiful wrinkles which accented the fact that she had ‘traveled many hard miles’ in her life’s pilgrimage- this old lady had a ‘special communication’ with heaven itself! Her radiant smile, behind the wrinkles, would ‘win the heart’ of anyone who was at all open to the God whom she served with great fervor!

This woman of God found her greatest joy when she had her ‘hands on’ in full involvement in the works of compassion! This choice lady not only spoke her native Korean language, but she also clearly spoke the ‘language of heaven’! If someone had their doubts about this assertion, all they would have had to do is to carefully open their ears to her as she prayed! Even though she prayed only in her native tongue, I had never been more ‘moved’ and more ‘touched’ by any prayers like her prayers.

When I occasionally visited her (in the home of her daughter), this very healthy and very vibrant and very forceful little lady of God, always prayed for me, before I left her home. I could not, of course, understand a word of her lengthy prayers, but I knew that this ‘saint of God’ had a ‘direct line’ to heaven, to the God whom she had served all of her dramatic and action-filled life (a life accented with numerous miracles in her native country).

I counted it a privilege to be in the presence of one who had the radiance of heaven on her face, who had the driving force of holy love in her heart, who knew the power of prayer as a result of her lifetime experiences of facing evil and of overcoming evil in this demon-troubling world! I felt that I was in the presence of a woman who lived and who moved in the power of the Holy Ghost!

She was never ‘forbidding’ or Judgmental’ in her responses to people; instead, she was the epitome of holy love and tender kindness and genuine caring for everyone around her! She was like a ‘magnet’ to me, drawing me close to her, and drawing me closer to the God whom she knew so well! Even though we could not verbally communicate with one another, Mrs. Lee overflowed with her love! I felt that I was being ‘washed’ and being ‘refreshed’ by one of the streams from her overflowing love!

I felt that I was in the presence of one of the world’s greatest saints! A holy woman of God whose life was constantly overflowing with holy love- a love that anyone could ‘feel’ if they allowed themselves to get near to her! Because Mrs. Lee regularly attended the worship services, where, of course, I regularly preached (even though she could not understand a word I preached), she ‘took to me’ with affection and with genuine interest- because I was a fellow believer, but especially because I was her English-speaking pastor. She prayed that the day would come that our church would offer three worship services. Eventually her prayer was answered!

In the privacy of her home, she regularly prayed for me! I seldom knew anyone, during my time as a pastor, who prayed more consistently and more fervently for me (and for the church) than this little Korean lady! She was one of the world’s great ‘prayer warriors’! (Of course, the believers in South Korea are known as some of the most fervent prayer warriors that can be found anywhere).

When I think of Mrs. Lee (the little woman who spent almost all of her life in the country of her birth- Korea), l think of a woman of God who experienced many trials throughout her long life, but I think also of a woman who often ‘connected’ with her God, and, as a result, saw an abundance of miracles in her life!

During the 103 years that she lived on this earth, she was often ‘tried in the fire’ of adversity, and, time after time, she came forth as ‘gold tried in the fire’ -the ‘gold’ of a perfected character, a character that increasingly reflected the character of her precious Lord!

No one who knew Mrs. Lee would deny that she was “steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of God”. She was very faithful in accepting and in fulfilling the ‘assignments’ which her God gave to her! She was tenacious and determined in pursuing the ‘goals’ that she believed were worthy of the cause of Christ!

Whether it was ‘building a local church’, or whether it was visiting a ‘fellow farmer’ who lived near her and her former husband, she was a conscientious ‘servant of the Lord’! She wanted to spread the ‘love of God’, wherever she went and with whomever she met! Wherever she found herself, this noble lady used her ‘gift of healing’ to bring restoration and deliverance to many folks, in her beloved home of South Korea!

As I mentioned previously, I found Mrs. Lee to be very supportive of me, her pastor, during the last decade of her long life. Even though I could not understand a single word of her native language, when she prayed for me (rather long prayers) I felt that she was truly ‘touching heaven’ in my behalf! I felt that she was ‘bringing heaven down to earth’, that she was ‘touching the hem of Christ’s garment’, that she had the ‘full attention of her blessed Savior’!

She, a woman in her late 90’s, desired to kneel with me, when she prayed with me, always at the end of my ‘visit’ with her! I have never known anyone (at her advanced age) who was so nimble and agile and flexible in the movement of her body! She enjoyed rather good health in her body, until the Lord decided on one glorious day to deliver her from that ancient body, to give her the gift of a brand new (heavenly) body! If she had aches and pains or stiffness of joints (or some other more serious physical ailments), I never once heard her talk about it.

She had been a hard-working farmer’s wife for many decades, in her beloved country. She had been a widow for many years, and so she naturally became quite ‘independent’ in her lifestyle. Even though she was not privileged to receive much formal education, she was a woman who was amazingly ‘educated by the Spirit of the living God’! She was a spiritually-minded woman, a woman who was full of godly wisdom and of sound judgment!

She definitely was a ‘seasoned saint of God’, but she did not arrive at that spiritual ‘status’ overnight! It took years of growth and careful obedience to the Spirit of God for her to become that type of a choice and rare person!

You might say that (borrowing a few words from the scriptures) she was ‘wise as a serpent’ (very discerning of the motives of people), ‘harmless as a dove’ (guileless and pure in motives), ‘strong as an ox’ (tremendous in perseverance), and ‘bold as a lion’ (fearless in her outreach to all kinds of persons- receptive and unreceptive persons).

For many reasons, Mrs. Lee was a truly ‘unique person’. She was gloriously ‘different’ from any person I ever met. Even though we could not get over the language barrier (except through the translating skills of her brilliant daughter- who was a Korean pastor), we, nevertheless, ‘communicated’ to one another in our own ‘unique manner’.

We communicated through our ‘body language’, through our ‘facial expressions’, through our ‘mutual hugs’, through our ‘shared prayers’, and through the profound ‘mystery of our physical presence’! Every time I left the home of this ‘aged saint’ (this little Korean lady), my heart was warmed and my spirit was encouraged!

Every friend I have ever enjoyed has impacted my life in ways that were hard to describe! Each friend has left his/her ‘mark of influence’ on my life. I am indebted, of course, to each one of my friends (and relatives) for the lessons they have taught me, and for the godly example they have provided to me.

I can never repay a single one of these precious persons – persons who gave me far more than I ever gave to them. Yes, I am indebted to them, for time and for eternity. Some persons (from an outside objective viewpoint) might consider that some of my friends were a little ‘odd’ or even ‘strange’, but, instead of using those rather negative words, I would simply declare that all my friends were ‘unique’ or ‘special’ or ‘interesting’!

During the decade of time that I associated with Mrs. Lee (and served as her pastor), I will say that she was to me a cherished friend (and also a spiritual ‘mentor’)! In describing her (as a friend) I would gladly (and most respectfully) use the words which I just wrote- ‘unique’ and ‘special’ and ‘interesting’! Mrs. Lee was unique and special and interesting in countless ways!

When I first met Mrs. Lee, she was well-advanced in her age. It was easy for me to discern that, when I was in her presence, I was in the presence of a woman who had weathered the spiritual storms of life, a woman who had come through her harsh storms of life – and come through those storms with her ‘head’ held high and with her heart still tender with the love of God!

She had not allowed the adversities of her life to harden her heart (in bitterness), and she had not allowed the unexplained griefs of her life to overwhelm her mind with doubts! It was obvious to me, when I was in her presence, that she was overflowing with the love of God, and that she was also overflowing with the joy of the Lord which provided her great strength for every day’s living!

She was a woman that exuded health in every dimension of her life spiritually and physically and socially and mentally! indeed, Mrs. Lee was one of the most ‘unique’ and ‘special’ and ‘interesting’ Christians that I have ever met!

Thankfully, I have enjoyed some other friends in my life who have been ‘unique’ and ‘special’ and ‘interesting’, but I doubt that I will ever have a friend who will fit the description of these three words, quite like Mrs. Lee ‘fit’ this description! In a usual way this little Korean lady was ‘unique’ and ‘special’ and ‘interesting’!

Ever since I was in the presence of this ‘unique’ and ‘special’ and ‘interesting’ lady (for an entire decade), I have never quite been the ‘same’! I am inspired by her example, and, at the same time, convicted, when I realize how ‘small of stature’ (spiritually-speaking) I am, in contrast to the ‘largeness of stature’ that I beheld when I was in her presence! Yes, it is true that she was very short of stature (physically speaking), but she was a ‘giant in height’ (spiritually-speaking).

Whenever I was with her, and when I became the object of her love and kindness and compassion, and when I heard her pray – yes, I had two responses. I was so appreciative for her expressions of love, and secondly, I was humbled and convicted because of my ‘small stature’ (my slow growth in spiritual matters). I felt that I was not worthy for her to lovingly call me ‘pastor’, for I easily and honestly knew that she was far, far ahead of me in ‘spiritual matters’!

Many descriptive words could easily be used to describe the kind of person that Mrs. Lee was. One such word (an often-used Biblical term) is the familiar word that believers ‘mouth’ often- perseverance! Mrs. Lee consistently and enthusiastically ran the spiritual race of life. She was not a ‘quitter’ in the race of life. Instead, she persevered until the very end of her human life.

The spiritual race for her was not a short ‘hundred yard dash’, but, instead, her spiritual race was a lifetime ‘marathon’. Her race in life was very long, and sometimes her race was very difficult, wrought with many trials, tests, and temptations to despair. She never gave up. She maintained her faith in Christ, and she finally crossed the ‘finish line’ of her long and arduous race. She was triumphant and she was, in the end, victorious!

She became a follower of Christ when she was 24 years of age. That means that she traveled the Christian ‘course of life’ for nearly 80 years! Through all the ‘ups and downs’ of life, amidst all the ‘changes and the chances’ of life- for nearly 80 years! Amidst the successes and the failures of life, amidst the loses and the gains of life, Mrs. Lee maintained a steadfast purpose and a deep commitment of her whole soul to Christ her Lord!

She was faithful ‘in season and out of season’, when it was easy and when it was difficult to live the Christian life, in sorrow and in joy, in the company of many fellow believers and when she had to ‘stand alone’ for Christ, during times of peace and during times of great conflicts and spiritual persecutions! Her life and her faith in Christ stood the ‘test of time’! She was ‘faithful to the very end’ of her very long life (of 103 years)! The Lord said, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

With only seven other people, Mrs. Lee started a Methodist Church in her own home. Her faith was strong, and her determination to work hard for ‘kingdom growth’ (church growth) was exemplary! Gradually, that miniature ‘house church’ grew to become an impressively large local church.

The ‘house church’ that started in her own home with only 7 persons, in a few years, became a church that numbered more than 1000 persons! A miracle indeed, but a miracle that happened only because of strong faith and hard work. God honored Mrs. Lee, and other fellow workers with her!

Mrs. Lee was given the ‘gift of healing’- a gift that she often put into practice! It was my understanding that, when many persons were healed (as a result of Mrs. Lee’s prayers and her anointing of folks for their healing), there were several folks from her home town who decided to attend the church that Mrs. Lee started. Probably for multiple reasons, there were many different folks who chose to join this growing church!

As previously mentioned, Mrs. Lee had very little formal education. She worked hard, as a farmer’s wife, most of her adult life. Mrs. Lee wanted her gifted daughter (Martha) to receive a good (formal) education. Martha did receive a fine education, in her own homeland, and Martha’s education included even seminary training. Martha, a humble servant of God, was both a ‘tough minded’ and a ‘tender hearted’ person, and she, later in her life, served as a pastor of a Korean church in America (in fact, in Fort Collins, Colorado).

God gifted Martha with a ‘good mind’, in fact a ‘brilliant mind’! She was a strong Methodist in denominational preference. She studied intensely, and she preached with liberty and with joy! Her knowledge of various languages was rather mind-boggling! She either spoke or she understood several notable languages (some of them Biblical languages): Japanese, Chinese, Hebrew, Greek, English, and Korean!

Mrs. Lee prayed in general for many persons (for the blessing of God to rest on the life of persons), but Mrs. Lee had a special God-given ‘gift’ and she had a special God-ordained ‘ministry’. She often went to hospitals and to shut-ins at their private residence, to pray for these folks! Specifically, she went to these needy persons to ‘anoint’ them with oil and to pray for their healing!

During her long-time ministry in Korea, she prayed for the ill and for the downtrodden ones who were all around her. Amazingly, as a farmer’s wife, Mrs. Lee would respond to the requests of farmers, to come to farms and specifically to pray for the recovery of their sick animals! This idea seems ‘way out’ to us Americans (unreasonable and strange), but, nevertheless, God honored Mrs. Lee’s faith, and, as a result, miracles often took place among the poor farmers and their valued animals!

Remarkably, in addition to everything that God miraculously did ‘in’ and ‘through’ the life of Mrs. Lee, God gave another special gift to Mrs. Lee namely, the gift of ‘spiritual exorcism’ -the authority to cast out evil spirits from demon-possessed persons!

On one memorable occasion, I was with Mrs. Lee and with her daughter and with her son-in-law (Richard and Martha Sloan dear friends of mine), when Mrs. Lee and her daughter prayed over the ill body of a young lady (mother of several children)! Mrs. Lee also anointed the body of this young lady who was suffering from a blockage, a painful blockage caused by kidney stones.

Before praying, Mrs. Lee, Martha, and Richard spent considerable time in the home of this young mother – singing some hymns and praising the Lord, and focusing on worship, all of which strengthened their personal faith in God’s healing power.

Then, after about an hour of ‘spiritual preparation’, Mrs. Lee, with her daughter and her son-in-law, prayed earnestly and intently for this young lady’s healing! A few days later, after this extended evening of prayer, Janine’s body eliminated the kidney stones! An avoidance of a possible serious surgery!

Our God is a ‘healing God’! There is ‘power in prayer’! “If anyone is ill, let him call for the elders of the church, and let the elders pray over the ill, and let the elders anoint the ill ones, in the name of the Lord- and the ill ones will be healed!” (Paraphrase of James 5)

Mrs. Lee was a woman who was very sensitive to the person and the work of the mighty Holy Spirit. She, indeed, was a truly Spirit-filled and Spirit anointed lady of God!

Throughout her long and productive life, she remained humble, prayerful, and obedient, and she continued to the end of her earthly life to cultivate the fruits of the Holy Spirit in her character. “When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Those who belong to Christ have nailed their natural evil desires to his cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit’s power, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”(Galatians 5:22-25; Living Bible)

To those who observed her daily lifestyle, it was obvious that Mrs. Lee did not live a self-centered life, but, rather, a Christ-centered life and an others-oriented life! She lived to meet the needs of other persons, and she sought to meet those needs through her prayer life, through her works of charity, and through her special gift of ‘healing’! Her ‘old self was crucified and she was resurrected to the ‘new self which she received through her total surrender to the Lordship of Christ!

This was the supreme desire of Mrs. Lee- to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of her life. Her life was overflowing with Love for everyone around her! Why? Because she was deeply in love with her God whom she worshiped wholeheartedly, as a result of her faith in Jesus as her Lord and her Master!

She manifested a beautiful smile on her radiant face, and her positive, joyous outlook on life was so contagious. She was magnetic in personality, drawing so many around her to her Savior whom she worshiped so naturally and spontaneously!

She, indeed, had a glow with the countenance of holy love, and every wrinkle on her aging face was a mark of holy wisdom and beauty! Her face was the face of kindness and compassion, and her face reminded me of the kind face of her Master whose likeness she mirrored! She walked and she talked with her Lord for so long, and, therefore, she began to look like her divine Master! What a holy representative for Christ on earth was Mrs. Lee.

Throughout her long life, Mrs. Lee sought to witness for her Lord. She wanted everyone that she met to come into a personal relationship with her Christ. Even when she was beginning to ‘feel’ the effects of her advanced aging, Mrs. Lee still wanted in some way to witness for her Lord.

She discovered a ‘unique’ way to do just that! For several years, her son in- law gave leadership to a special outreach project- an outreach project that was launched by the Fort Collins Free Methodist Church. A very simple project that found its purpose in the distribution of Christian literature in the far reaches of the community of Ft. Collins.

Richard Sloan (the son-in-law of Mrs. Lee- the son-in-law who was so gracious to invite Mrs. Lee into his home to live) this dear and dedicated man (a quiet-spoken and gentle-hearted servant of God) involved himself as the lay leader who ‘made it all happen’!

The commitment of Richard (and the commitment of Richard’s team of nearly 20 other lay volunteers) was to distribute (door-to-door) about 3000 little devotional booklets (called ‘Our Daily Bread’ popular booklet). The address of the local (sponsoring) church needed to be ‘stamped’ on the back cover of each booklet. Then, after this enormous job was completed, each booklet needed to be inserted into a little plastic bag (and some church promotional pamphlets were placed in each of the 3000 plastic bags).

Each of the several team volunteers received two or three hundred of the booklets (enclosed in the bags), and then the volunteers proceeded to go to their designated locations (neighborhoods) with a map which Richard had prepared for each volunteer. This ‘literature distribution ministry’ -this witnessing outreach project too many neighborhoods lasted for many years (every quarter), through the fine leadership of Richard Sloan. He was a most dedicated servant of the Lord!

For most of the years that this ministry proceeded, Mrs. Lee was vitally involved in helping with the process of ‘stamping’ the church address on the back cover of every one of the little booklets! Mind you, this little Korean lady was in her upper 90’s when she handled thousands of booklets, each of which had to have an address ‘stamp’ affixed to the back cover of the booklets!

Her son-in-law was immensely grateful to his mother-in-law, for her significant contribution, in the preparation of these thousands of booklets, for distribution to thousands of homes!

Because Mrs. Lee had no acquaintance with the English language (or with English letters), her daughter and her son-in-law, of course, carefully instructed her as to how to use the ‘address stamp’. She, of course, was told how to ‘handle’ the stamp, how to position the stamp, to assure the proper placement of the stamp on the back cover of these booklets. It was, of course, important that she did not affix the address upside down, rather than right side up!

She, of course, did her job (affixing the address on the booklets) in her own home (the home of Richard and Martha Sloan). Mrs. Lee, as old as she was, but as agile as she was, ‘squatted down on her floor’, from which body position she stamped hundreds of little (witnessing) booklets! How could any woman (in her late 90’s) kneel down (sit down), and then ‘keep that position’ for a long time on the floor- all because she had a passion to ‘spread the good news of Christ’ to the community!?

As a love-filled and a Spirit-controlled servant of God, Mrs. Lee was one of the most hospitable and warm-hearted persons whom I have ever known! When I occasionally visited in the home of her daughter and her son-in-law, the home that became her own home during the last 10- 15 years of her life, Mrs. Lee was very concerned that I (her pastor) was getting enough hot tea and delicious cookies, that I was comfortably seated, and that I was enjoying myself in her home. Even though I could not communicate verbally with this dear woman, at times I talked with her, with her daughter translating my English into her native Korean language.

Then, before I left her home, I would ask her to pray for me and for my local church. Her prayers were fervent and they were very spirited! Giving her a good-bye hug, I would then go to my car. But where was Mrs. Lee? Not in her home! As her native Korean custom dictated (and, more importantly, as an expression of her own warm Christian hospitality), Mrs. Lee followed me to my car, and then she stood on the curb and she continued to wave to me until I rounded the comer where I could no longer see her waving and waving, from my rear-view car mirror. What a dignified, beautiful, and loving servant this woman was! Mrs. Lee manifested great respect for those persons whom she considered to be spiritual leaders, like pastors!

Martha Sloan, the daughter of Mrs. Lee, shared with me that her 103 year old mother was showing signs that her departure from this earthly life was imminent, She asked me to come to her home, to serve the ‘Communion’ to her mother. It turned out that Mrs. Lee was only one week away from the date of her death. However, amazingly, Mrs. Lee was still very mentally alert, during the time that I was in her home, to share the Communion with her.

lf there was ever a person who was ready to face death, and to face the Creator, it was Mrs. Lee, a woman who had long served her Lord, in the loving and caring for the inhabitants of earth! But the time had come for the Lord to call her to her heavenly home! Soon she would leave her rugged, aged body on this earth, to return to dust, and she would then have her glorious ‘home going’ to her heavenly home!

I knew this reality very well when I made my last visit to the home of Mrs. Lee. I knew I would never again hear her fervent prayers, and I would never again be the object of her tender expressions of love (hot tea and delicious cookies). I would never again see her enthusiastic good-bye ‘waves’, as I pulled away from the curb of her home! I would never again see her wrinkled face and her exuberant and friendly smiles! I would never again hear the melodious sounds of her Korean tongue, as she intently attempted to communicate with me (and then observe the expressions on my face after her brilliant daughter translated the words to me that she had just spoken).

I would never again be able to see her quietly and reverently sitting in our church pew, during worship services (year after year), sitting so respectfully, even though she was unable to understand a single word of my sermons! I knew that, although she could not be a mental responder to my sermons, she was surely a spiritual responder, since she was praying earnestly for me, during the time I was preaching.

I would no longer be able to cherish her as one of my main ‘prayer warriors’. Yes, for many reasons, I would miss Mrs. Lee, the little lady from Korea! And, obviously, her daughter and her son-in-law (Richard and Marsha Sloan, who loved her so deeply) would greatly miss her after she died. But God had (for several months) been ‘preparing’ them for her peaceful ‘departure’ to heaven!

After I served the Communion to this ‘dying saint’, I sensed that God would have me to read a well- known portion of Scripture. The theme is on the glory of the heavenly life, following the happy anticipation of physical death. I read to Mrs. Lee (and her children) ll Corinthians 4:14- 5:10.

“We know that the same God who brought the Lord Jesus back from death will also bring us back to life again with Jesus, and present us to him along with you. These sufferings of ours are for your benefit. And the more of you who are won to Christ, the more there are to thank him for his great kindness, and the more the Lord is glorified.

“This is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our inner strength in the Lord is growing every day. These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all quite small and won’t last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessing upon us forever and ever!

“So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.

“For we know that when this tent we live in now is taken down- when we die and leave these bodies-we will have wonderful new bodies in heaven, homes that will be ours forevermore, made for us by God himself, and not by human hands. How weary we grow of our present bodies. That is why we look forward eagerly to the day when we shall have heavenly bodies which we shall put on like new clothes. For we shall not be merely spirits without bodies.

“These earthly bodies make us groan and sigh, but we wouldn’t like to think of dying and having no bodies at all. We want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will, as it were, be swallowed up by everlasting life.

“This is what God has prepared for us and, as a guarantee; he has given us his Holy Spirit. Now we look forward with confidence to our heavenly bodies, realizing that every moment we spend in these earthly bodies is time spent away from our eternal home in heaven with Jesus. We know these things are true by believing, not by seeing.

“And we are not afraid, but are quite content to die, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So our aim is to please him always in everything we do, whether we are here in this body or away from this body and with him in heaven. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged and have our lives lain bare – before him. Each of us will receive whatever he deserves for the good or bad things he has done in his earthly body.” (Living Bible)

After I read this exciting and heart-warming portion of scripture to Mrs. Lee and to her beloved children, I shared a few words of my heart-felt appreciation and my love to this dying woman (‘saint of God’). After I poured out my heart in thanksgiving to her- thanksgiving for the godly life that she had lived for so long, and thanksgiving for my personal indebtedness to her for her amazing impact of her life on my life – after these simple acts and words of love (on my part), I did an act of love that might seem ‘strange’ to many people.

On that particular day, my heart quivered with praise to my God and with thanksgiving for my ‘little Korean friend’- and, as a final act of praise to God and of thanksgiving to Mrs. Lee, I bent my body down to where she was sitting, and I gave this sainted woman ten ‘holy kisses of love’ on her forehead- before I left her presence for the last time! I told her – my last words to her that I hoped that God would grant me the great privilege, through His grace, of living near to her in heaven!

Occasionally, there is a ‘rare’ and ‘beautiful’ and ‘saintly’ person whom God brings into a person’s life! A little, aged woman- a woman from Korea (a hard-working farmer’s wife) was the ‘rare’ and ‘beautiful’ and ‘saintly’ woman whom God chose to bring into my life!

I shall always be grateful that God ‘graced’ my little life (for a few years) with the friendship of a ‘giant in the faith!’ I will always feel the ‘impact’ of her godly life on my life, for the remainder of my time on earth, and, I feel sure, I will also feel her impact on my life, throughout eternity!

Perhaps, I will then sit at her feet, where she will teach me the ‘lessons of heaven’! Then I will be able to understand every word she speaks – for her language and my language will be the same heavenly language which every soul in heaven knows well! Forward with confidence to our heavenly bodies, realizing that every moment we spend in these earthly bodies is time spent away from our eternal home in heaven with Jesus. We know these things are true by believing, not by seeing.

No longer will there be any barriers in heaven! Perfect communication and perfect communion- forever! It will be so wonderful that neither tongue nor pen will be able to describe that glorious dwelling place! Glory! Glory! “It has not entered into the mind of man what God has prepared for those who love Him!” Mrs. Lee is a ‘double winner!’ Abundant life on earth and now eternal life in heaven!

Mrs. Lee’s death was not a time for sadness and for darkness! Rather, her death was a time of gladness and of brightness! Following her passing, Richard and Martha Sloan sang some hymns, and then they prayed, and then they praised their Lord in thanksgiving for their mother. They expressed their gratitude to their Lord for taking their mother to her heaven home!

No longer a pilgrim on earth, but now a first-rate citizen of heaven itself! Richard and Martha knew that the last breath she breathed on this earth introduced her to her first breath of ‘celestial air’ in heaven!

Mrs. Lee died one early Sunday morning. How significant that God chose this particular day of the week as the day in which the doors of heaven were opened to this ‘old saint of God!’ The first day of the week in which every week Christians from around the world (yes, millions of Christians also in Korea) celebrate the glorious resurrection of Jesus!

When Jesus arose from the dead, He vanquished death forever! God chose the first day of the week to raise His Son from the dead! God chose to deliver mankind the victory over man’s enemy- death- on the first day of the week! Symbolically, the fact that Mrs. Lee died on the first day of the week- early on resurrection day demonstrates that, although her physical body died on that Sunday, her spirit winged itself to the ‘realms of glory’ on the same day that her body died! Her spirit (now separate from her old body) will surely receive a new body (patterned after the resurrected body of Jesus Himself!).


I praise God for my friendship with several delightful ones during life!

Let My Praises Be Heard!


This autobiography (story of my life), even as a ‘sketch’, admittedly covers many pages in this present book. If this book were a ‘portrait’ (a detailed ‘coverage’ of my life), obviously this book would be uncomfortably large (far too large). This is to say, that, although I would enjoy offering a ‘biographical sketch’ of my many friends (like I did with my immediate family members); I am not able to undertake such a mammoth task. Where would I start and, more importantly, where would I finish- if I undertook to present a brief profile of all my extended family, as well as of all my many friends?

I certainly do not have sufficient words to adequately express my deep appreciation to the countless friends (far and near, close and distant) who have ‘touched my life’ with the impact of their love and kindness and understanding and generosity and compassion and wisdom, and so much more.

Each friend (young and older), whom I have enjoyed, has left his/her ‘mark’ of influence on my own life. Some have seen me at my ‘best'(healthy and vibrant and spiritual), and some have seen me at my worst (sick in mind and in body, depressed, unhappy, unproductive).

I talked just recently to a friend who, some 20 years ago, comforted me with his friendship and with his wise counsel, when I was walking for so long through the ‘tunnel of depression’. My dear friend lives now in a distant State, but occasionally I talk to him on the phone. Just recently (on the phone) I reminded him that he had been a dear friend to me, for about 25 years.

I implied to him (he caught the mood in my voice) that it must have been a lot of ‘labor’ on his part for him to be and to remain my friend through the ‘ups and downs’ of my life. I have thanked him (during several phone conversations) for ‘coming along beside me’ during the darkest days (years) of my life (during my 3 yearlong depression). He told me that when he was someone’s friend, he was that person’s friend forever!

He never boasts, he never flaunts, and he never focuses on my dark days! Instead, he expresses his love for me, and he allows me (occasionally) to ‘see behind the curtain’ of his own period of deep depression (he is a fine tuned artist- musician and florist)! Through the many years that I have known this godly gentleman (and during the occasional conversations with him on the phone), this unusually brilliant and kindhearted and compassionate-oriented man has been my ‘minister of encouragement’!

I have a great indebtedness to this special friend, an understanding Christian friend- Neil Brownwood! He has an empathetic, listening ‘ear’, and he also has wise and loving words of wisdom to share with me.

He is unusually talented (musician, carpenter, floral designer, rancher), but he never flaunts his many abilities and skills. He is a man of prayer, a man who loves the Bible, a man who enjoys ‘holiness writings’, a man who loves to ride his bike, and a man who (as a single person) lives with his parents and who cares for them in their elderly years! He has a special mission of compassion to a particular middle-aged man whose health has deteriorated!

I have, just now, offered a very brief ‘profile’ of one of my cherished friends- a friend who has been loyal to me, through all the changes and the chances of my own life. When I mentioned to my friend (recently on the phone) that we had known each other a long time. I think he perceived that I thought that this fact was amazing (considering all the ‘trouble’ I had caused him, as a result of my ‘dark night of the soul’ through which he agonized with me, in the distant past)! He simply said to me (in so many words): “When I am a friend to someone, I am a friend for life!”

Even though I have cherished the friendship of several persons during the last many years, I would be the first one to admit that my knowledge of these persons is rather limited and incomplete. I observed some of the outward movements of these precious friends, and I would be equipped to record a few facts regarding some of those easy-to-observe movements (actions and reactions), but my recording of those outward movements would certainly be limited and incomplete. And what about the inner life motives, motivations, and desires, of these friends? Of course, my knowledge of the inner life of these friends would be very incomplete.

When I undertook to write a brief profile of my immediate family members I realized that my brief profile of even these loved ones is quite ‘sketchy’ (incomplete). How much more ‘sketchy’ would be my profile of those persons whom I considered ‘friends’ (at various times throughout my long life).

It is true that my attempt to give a brief account of my many friends, would be a worthwhile attempt, but, the nature of this book would not permit me to invest my time and my effort in such an attempted ‘project’. Already, the present length of this book is longer than I had originally anticipated (when this project was conceived).

In another book, entitled ‘In Memory’, I briefly profiled the lives of 45 different persons, and, with the ‘biographical sketch’ of each of these persons, I printed the actual sermon that I gave at the funeral service for each of these persons. Of course, the nature (purpose) of that book is totally different than the nature (purpose) of this present book.

Rescue from the blast of shattered glass!

Let My Praises Be Heard!


Probably the most ‘dramatic’ of God’s interventions that I am aware of (in the life of my own family members) took place on December 1, 2013 Just four days ago from the time I am presently writing). The ‘strange’ (weird) happening of this last Sunday morning could have resulted in my wife being seriously injured or (horrible to think about) even in her sudden death!

When I came into the front door of our house, following my attendance of the first worship service (about 10:15 a.m.), my wife was upstairs, and she yelled to me, “Watch your steps, there is glass all over the floor of the kitchen!” What a strange message to me! My wife immediately came down the stairs, and she began to explain what had happened.

She had been preparing some food for our lunch. She had placed a meat loaf within a large glass container (as she usually had done on countless other occasions). She had placed the glass container on top of the stove, and, an hour later (during the time that she was attending the second worship service); it was my ‘assignment’ to put the container of meat loaf in the oven for baking!

Venita also had laid 5 potatoes aside, to be placed in the microwave, a few minutes before lunch time, a couple hours later. Because she was planning to invite our daughter and our grandson to join us for lunch, a few minutes before I came into the front door, Venita decided that it would be ‘wise’ to go to our garage (where the sack of potatoes was stored) to retrieve a couple more potatoes for the noon meal.

This latter ‘move’ (of going to the garage for a few seconds to get two more potatoes) saved Venita from what could have been her tragic death (or at least her serious injury)! I am sure that God Himself (or at least God’s guardian angel) put in her mind that she needed to go to the garage (to get out of the kitchen)!

While Venita was in the garage, for a few seconds, the kitchen became the ‘zone’ for the explosion of a veritable ‘bomb’! What happened in the kitchen reminded me of what happens in a ‘war zone’! During the few seconds, when Venita was retrieving a couple of potatoes from the potato sack, the glass dish which contained the meat loaf, literally exploded, sending hundreds of jagged pieces of glass in every direction, throughout the entire kitchen area!

There were small marble-sized pieces of sharp glass, everywhere I could look! Jagged pieces of glass covered the top of the stove, and glass pieces were on the sink and on the window sill and all over the kitchen counter. Glass was strewn over the kitchen floor. Some sharp pieces of glass were even found behind the table, located quite a distance away from where the explosion originated.

When I came into the house (only a few minutes after the explosion happened), and when Venita warned me to ‘watch my step’, I caught sight of a piece of glass in our living room (a considerable distance from the kitchen stove, where the fierce explosion originated)!

Venita, shocked as she was, left the kitchen area, and she was upstairs when I had entered the house. The explosion had just happened, probably 10 minutes before I entered the ‘scene’- a scene so startling that it reminded me of what it must look like when a bomb explodes! Jagged glass everywhere!

Some larger pieces, and some smaller pieces- but all ‘death-dealing’ pieces, if those pieces pierced your body with explosive power! I did not realize that the explosion of a glass bowl could be so shattered, and that the exploded pieces of a glass bowel could travel so far – all across the kitchen, as if bullets went off in a hundred different directions!

Venita verily escaped being targeted by those hundreds of glass bullets – sharp glass bullets that had a force that could easily penetrate ‘human flesh’, and possibly even penetrate ‘human organs’! When one thinks about it – the human body, unlike an animal with a crusted shell, is very vulnerable to injury and to death!

Venita probably would not have had a ‘chance’ (at survival) if many fast moving ‘razor sharp’ pieces of jagged glass had pierced and had penetrated the front of her body. If pieces of glass, traveling at a fast speed, find vital organs as their ‘target’, the wound to those vital organs (accompanied with profuse bleeding) would soon give way to physical death!

When that explosion happened, the kitchen area was suddenly turned into a veritable ‘death trap’! A possibility, so frightening, that I shiver inside of me, to even think of what could have happened to Venita if she had not gone to the garage to find a couple potatoes in the potato sack! She escaped serious injuries (and possibly even death) by only a few seconds!

Venita, as she had done hundreds of times before, sat the prepared dish of meat loaf on top of the stove. At a certain time (probably an hour from the time Venita left for the second worship service) I was to place the meat loaf dish inside the oven, at a set temperature, to allow it (of course) to bake – in preparation for our noon meal! Nothing out of the ordinary- prepare the dish, place it on the top of the oven, and I was to place the prepared meat loaf dish inside the oven and turn on the oven at a specified temperature.

Venita was ready to go out the door, as soon as I came in the door (because of our caring for the elderly ones, someone, of course, had always to be in our house).

Without giving any special attention, as to where she placed the glass bowl (which contained the meat loaf), Venita placed the dish on the left (front) burner- a burner that she supposed was ‘off and ‘cold’! The problem was that the burner was not ‘off’ and the burner, therefore, was not ‘cold’! This particular burner on the stove had been giving us ‘trouble’ for the last month. When we thought the burner was off, it was, instead, a burner that emitted a slight amount of ‘heat’! It was this very burner that became the culprit- the igniting center that caused the terrible explosion!

The ingredients (favorable ‘factors’) for an explosion were present namely, grease from the meat (fuel), the glass bowl (the ammunition), and the necessary heat underneath the bowl from the lite burner (the ignition)! Grease, heat, glass bowl (coming together) resulted in an explosion that was powerful and that could even be ‘deadly’!

It was only the ‘intervention’ of God that saved Venita’s body from becoming the ‘target’ for the ‘bullets of glass’- the bullets that were far stronger than Venita’s flesh and blood and bones! There is no doubt that, if Venita had remained in the kitchen about 20 seconds longer (before walking to the garage to pick out a couple more potatoes), she would have been in the middle of a veritable ‘war zone’ – a ‘war zone’ of flying glass – sharp pieces of glass that were flying at a speed that was breathtakingly fast and lethal!

If Venita had been in the ‘close’ range or in the ‘closest’ range of the origin of the explosion (stove top), she would have sustained multiple wounds to her body (probably very deep wounds). The jagged glass, impeded in her flesh, would have almost certainly caused massive bleeding. Some of the jagged glass could have found its way into the vulnerable (frontal) organs of her body! Some of the pieces could very possibly hit her eyes, causing her blindness!

As I contemplate what possibly could have happen (as a result of this horrible explosion), I inwardly shake with a type of ‘fear’! The worse possible ‘picture’ in my imagination caused me to think that, if Venita had been ‘attacked’ by all that flying glass, she could end up on the floor where I would have found her, bleeding to death! What a horrendous sight that would have been, just as I entered my front door (following worship service)!

Of course, it is easy for me to let my ‘imagination to run wild with me’, but this just mentioned ‘picture of my imagination’), could have been a ‘reality’! If her physical body had been cruelly attacked (by flying glass), she could have lost her life on that December Sunday morning! As her body lay in blood (a most horrible ‘thought’), her spirit would have ‘winged itself to worlds unknown, to behold God on His throne’!

Thank God; Venita’s life was spared- for, hopefully many more years of productive living! God definitely spared Venita from the attack of ‘flying glass’ (which would, without doubt, have caused multiple and bloody wounds)! God possibly spared Venita from ‘certain death’! No one can be in the same room (kitchen) where there are hundreds of pieces of jagged glass- flying in every direction- and he/she not be injured by those ‘bullets of jagged glass’! Venita escaped that ‘fate’, within a 20 second period of time!

Two important concluding questions: First, what made Venita go out into the garage, to retrieve couple more potatoes? After all, Venita had already placed 5 potatoes on the counter; ready to be put in the microwave, a few minutes before the noon meal was to be served! For the few persons who were to have that meal together, surely five sizeable potatoes were sufficient!

In reflecting upon the frightening happenings of that fateful Sunday morning, Venita believes that it was ‘God’ who placed the ‘idea’ in her mind that she should pick out a couple more potatoes (stored in the garage). What if the potato bag had been stored in a kitchen cupboard? Of course, if that were the case, Venita would not have been in the garage, when the explosion happened!

The second question: Why did Venita (who has a ‘keen’ sense of smell) not smell the burning burner, and why (even more amazingly) did Venita not smell the hot grease in the glass pan that contained the meat? Venita (in contrast to myself) has an unusual ‘smeller’. She can ‘pick up’ aromas or a variety of ‘smells’ a ‘mile away’! Why didn’t she go to the dish of meat loaf, as a result of the distinct smell of the grease on the meat loaf, and why didn’t she smell the burner that was heating?

The most frightening thought is this: If Venita (‘true’ to her unusual ability to smell) had gone (as she usually would) to the stove, and then notice that the ‘faulty left burner’ was actually ‘on’ (when, of course, she thought it was ‘cold’). What if (after she realized that the glass pan was placed on the faulty burner), she would have proceeded to gently move the glass container (with meat in it) to the back of the stove?

There probably would have been a death-dealing explosion, and Venita would have been the close-up target for that explosion. Hundreds of pieces of jagged pieces of glass would have entered her body, and possibly those sharp pieces of glass would have penetrated some of her vulnerable organs (stomach, etc.)! God protected her from the blast of a type of bomb!

God- the intervening God- definitely kept Venita out of the kitchen (through the retrieval of the potatoes)! God kept Venita from doing what she (and any other woman) would naturally do -namely, move the large glass container from off the heated burner. I believe that God ‘blocked’ Venita’s ability to ‘smell’ the heated grease from the meat loaf. God was intervening in several different ways, during that death-threatening (terrifying) morning! Venita has an unusually keen sense of smell!

Why didn’t she smell the heated grease? If she had smelled that grease, she, obviously, would have gone to the stove, to remove the meat loaf it is likely that, in the process of Venita moving that glass container, the explosion would have happened! Venita would have gotten the ‘close up’ force of the explosion, there is no doubt that she would have incurred serious injuries (including the destruction of her eyes), and, if she was close to the glass container when it exploded, the power from that explosion jagged glass pieces) probably would have deeply penetrated her vulnerable body!

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow!” I praise God for His intervention- for His protection of Venita! Thank God that He often controls the thoughts of the human mind – “I need two more potatoes for my meal, even though I already have 5 potatoes. I must right now – this very minute – go to the garage to retrieve a couple more potatoes!” “My meat loaf dish is placed in a safe place. I have no need to check the glass container where my nicely prepared meat loaf remains until my husband places it in the oven, while I am at the second worship service! I certainly don’t smell anything at all! I have no reason to check my meat loaf” God controlled the ‘thoughts’ of Venita’s mind (l need 2 more potatoes, even though I have already retrieved 5 potatoes). God blocked Venita’s ability to smell on that particular morning (I don’t smell any heated grease, and I don’t smell the heat from the faulty burner).

God is in control of all of our human senses! God can heighten any of the human senses, or God can block any of the human senses, to protect us from certain harm, or even from certain death! What a merciful God we serve- the God who intervenes in ‘human affairs’- even in the ‘affairs’ of Venita Christian (on December 1, 2013) to preserve her from injury and from possible death!

God rescued my daughter ‘in the nick of time’!

Let My Praises Be Heard!


On April 30, 1997, the night that my oldest grandson was born, could have been the same night that my oldest daughter (Darlene) had lost her life – in childbirth! In the middle of the night, while Darlene was in the process of giving birth to her first child (Lucas), serious complications developed in the birth process! Such serious complications (while the baby was in the process of being born) that Darlene’s doctor was not, according to the level of his training, able to intervene in this particular difficult set of circumstances.

Darlene’s doctor (a fine Christian man) had cared for Darlene during her pregnancy, but he was not prepared to deal with the type of unexpected complications that he was now faced with! What would he do now, during a crisis time, when timely intervention was crucial? Darlene was, obviously, in a pathetic condition (great pain and bleeding), ready to ‘pass out’ and wondering what was to be done for her. Time was of the ‘essence’, and there was no time to waste. What would this very competent, but presently unprepared, doctor to do!

Darlene’s family doctor became aware that a highly trained ‘specialist’ (well-respected doctor) just ‘happened’ to be at the hospital on that particular night! The very doctor who was known for his skills in intervention (for difficult child births!). How could the family doctor be so ‘lucky’ to find out that this highly trained (esteemed and experienced) doctor would be in the hospital – during the middle of the night!

Was this ‘mere luck’ or was it ‘divine providence’ that this particular specialist was in the hospital, at a time when his skills were desperately needed- and needed quickly? Was God’s intervention being amazingly manifest, at the right time and at right place and through the right (qualified) doctor? I choose to believe that, as is so often the ‘case’, it was God who came to this crisis situation- to rescue one of His children from a ‘messy problem’- a problem that could have (without divine intervention) issued forth in death!

In just the ‘nick of time’, God came with the rescue that Darlene so desperately needed! The baby was (miraculously) delivered, and that baby is now a handsome and loving and caring and intelligent 16 year old teenager – a teenager who is profoundly grateful that God brought him into His beautiful world. And Darlene?

She is the beautiful and kind-hearted and godly woman who is the delight of her father and her mother! And a delight too many other persons (including a sizeable number of 4 year old children whom she teaches each day! Darlene could have died on April 30, 1997, but, instead, God raised her up to serve and to love His people! I thank God for His merciful intervention- time and time again! How merciful can God be?

Many women (past and present), throughout the world, do make an ‘exit’ from this earth, during the difficult time of giving birth to a child. As one human being is coming into God’s world, another human being (the mother) is leaving God’s world (because of complications that could not be solved, during the birth process!)

My great, great grandmother was one such woman! She died during child birth! My daughter lived through a difficult child birth (due to the skills of modem medicine). There are many ways that God chooses to ‘intervene’ (to save lives), and one of those wonderful ways is through the amazing skills which modem science has made possible! The ‘hand of God’ often is seen through the ‘hand of compassionate and knowledgeable physicians!

Fear seized me but God was with me!

Let My Praises Be Heard!


I earlier related the story of another time (July 4, 2011) when Venita experienced another ‘terrible fall’! I was surprised and I was shocked beyond words, when, while I was carrying on a normal conversation with her, Venita suddenly fainted and she fell to the kitchen hardware floor. I could not believe my eyes. One moment she and I were enjoying a visit together, and the next moment she fainted, and she fell backward (stiff as a board). She, of course, hit her head with a sickening ‘thud” against the hardwood floor!

I shared this incident in some detail, earlier in this book (chapter 2). At this point, however, I want to testify to the mercy of God- to the intervention of God- on this particular horrifying evening! In spite of the fact that I was ‘truly rattled’ in my mind and troubled in my emotions, and, in spite of the fact that I honestly contemplated the possibility that Venita could suddenly die (and, thus, leave me to be a widower, for the remainder of my life), I say, in spite of these ‘facts’, God intervened throughout the entire heart-moving episode, and God wonderfully ‘imparted’ His peace to my troubled heart!

I learned that, while I dare not minimize the crisis nature of this situation, I could, nevertheless, experience the ‘peace of God that passes understanding’! How could I experience ‘peace’ during a crisis like this? Only because of the grace and the mercy and the intervening power of the Holy Spirit!

God was faithful to come to me in my greatest time of need! I knew that I might suddenly ‘lose’ the person who was nearest and dearest to me, but, I also knew (during those crisis moments of uncertainty) that my loving God (my Heavenly Father) would never leave me! Jesus promised: “Behold, I am with thee, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. I will be with thee, unto the end of the world!” No more comforting words could be spoken to me by my Lord!

How loving and how merciful and how faithful is the God whom I (imperfectly) serve! I am thankful, from the ‘depths of my heart’, that I did not feel like a lonely orphan during that ‘scary evening’. My unseen, but very present, Lord took my hand, and He led me through that very troubling night.

I had to resign myself to the possibility of becoming a ‘widower’ on that night, but, I was given assurance by God that His grace is very adequate (sufficient) for widowers (if that was to be my new ‘lot in life’)! I appreciate my wife, more than ever before, as a result of her ‘escaping death’!

As was true in the former situation (when Venita fell down the stairs), so it is true regarding Venita’s terrible fall in our kitchen (on July 4, 2011). In both situations (terrible falls), Venita could have ‘fallen the wrong way’, resulting in lifelong injuries!

As bad as her ‘fall’ was, in the kitchen (when she fainted), I believe God actually intervened (i.e., actually ‘guided’ the direction of Venita’s fall). Venita landed on the floor – the only open space- just between the kitchen table and the broad window ledge! If Venita’s head had hit, either the hard surface of the table or the hard surface of the window ledge, she likely (probably) would have broken her neck!

I believe the ‘God of Intervention’ guided the place (location) of her ‘landing’! Yes, she landed on a hard surface, which caused some internal bleeding in her brain, but (after her stay in a Denver hospital for three days- with extensive ‘tests’, all of which proved to be ‘clear’); Venita returned home where, within a few days, she fully recovered! And, in spite of the seriousness of the accident, Venita was soon on her ‘feet’, and she was ready to assume all of her normal activities.

Without God’s merciful intervention, Venita could have sustained injuries that are frightening now to even imagine! God (or perhaps the ‘guardian angel’) controlled the direction of Venita’s body, at a time when Venita (because she had fainted) had absolutely no control over her own body! What a merciful and kind and protective God we serve!

A frightening fall in the middle of the night

Let My Praises Be Heard!


As I described earlier in this book (chapter 2), in the middle of the night, as Venita was descending a long staircase in our house (to check on one of her older persons who lived in our house), Venita thought she was at the end of the staircase, but, instead, Venita was four steps short of the end of those stairs.

In the darkness of the night, Venita flew through the air, and she took a terrible landing on the kitchen hardwood floor! Her fall caused great pain, and she sustained two cracked bones! Following her time at the hospital, Venita then underwent therapy for several months. A very painful recovery, but she did finally and fully recover, after several months.

I believe that, in spite of the painful aftermath of this terrible ‘fall’, this fall could have had much worse consequences! I believe that God protected Venita from falling on her neck, resulting in a broken neck, and possibly resulting in permanent paralysis of large parts of her body. She could have ended up in a wheel chair, for the rest of her life! And, worse yet, she could have fallen on her head, resulting in life- long brain injuries (impairment of her ability to think)! God mercifully intervened on that terrifying night, to prevent Venita from sustaining life-long injuries!

Has God often mercifully intervened to save my life?

Let My Praises Be Heard!


I am not worthy of the least of God’s ‘favor’, but, my life is not based on my ‘worthiness’, but on God’s unmerited favor (God’s grace)! God gives me, not what I deserve Justice), but, instead, God gives me what I desperately need (mercy and forgiveness).

God’s favor is expressed to some persons when God ‘takes them home’ (heaven) – at a time that appears to be premature in timing! For some good reason, God decides to ‘take home’ a very young Christian (through disease or through an accident), while God decides to let other believers live a very long life (90 or more years)!

God’s ways are past finding out, for our finite minds cannot comprehend the wisdom and the understanding and the knowledge of the infinite mind of God! I could have, for instance, died when I was a young man (in my 20’s) at the top of Long’s Peak (from hypothermia). I could have died, as a result of my head-on collision of my bike with another bike. I could have been a victim of a bullet that was fired by the man who chose to kill his wife (on the church parking lot, August 1992).

I could have been killed while I drove thousands of miles to Denver, to fill my many dental appointments, for the last several years. During the numerous dental surgeries (and procedures) which I have undergone during the last 7 years, I could have died (although not likely) while I was ‘put under’ by certain drugs!

There are, of course, many times I could have died, during the long course of my earthly life (so far, about 69 years). Traveling on the interstate (at 75 miles per hour) could be a ‘death trap’. It only takes one ‘slip-up’ by myself or by some other fast-moving vehicle- and my life would be over! Two vehicles which are traveling at fast speeds can collide with each other, so quickly! The human body cannot sustain much pressure (such impacts) until it gives way to death!

Why do some Christians get killed on the highway, or by means of ‘terrorist bombs’, in contrast to other Christians who escape all such outside attacks (whether it is the direct attack of evil men, or whether it is the attack of ‘nature’ -tornadoes, etc.)? That is a question that defies any understandable answer! I certainly have no special ‘claims’ on God’s mercy and on God’s protection from physical harm!

There have been a countless number of believers- believers who have lived ‘closer’ to God than I have lived- who, in spite of their deep spirituality, have died! Why have they, who are more ‘worthy’ than l, died (as martyrs or as victims of accidents, or as victims of tornadoes, or as victims of cancer), and I have been spared (time after time) from dying?

Thus far in my life, and in the life of my dear wife, the intervening power of God has been often experienced! What the future holds, in terms of God’s protection of our lives, I, of course, do not know. My mother used to say, “We do not know what a day will bring forth!” Paul said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain!” I have no guarantee that I will live past today. I am only one heart-beat away from eternity. In God I live and move and have my being, and every day I live is a ‘gift’ from my Creator!

The young may die, and the old must die – a short life or a long life, we all will someday meet our Maker! The Bible often speaks of the brevity of human life! But, we must remember that it is not all of life to live, nor is it all of death to die – but after death comes the Day of Judgment (Judgment of Damnation for sinners, and Judgment of Evaluation for believers).

We will all be judged by a merciful God and a just God, and only God knows how He will ‘blend’ those two divine attributes when each human being will ‘stand before Him’ at the end of human existence!

When each of us stands before God (alone), at the end of our human existence, we can be grateful that God’s mercy triumphs over God’s justice! God’s mercy does not eliminate (demolish) God’s justice, but, nevertheless, God’s justice is always ‘moderated’ and ‘conditioned’ and strongly ‘influenced’ by God’s tender mercy.

God- the all-knowing God- will ‘take everything into consideration’ when He determines the final destiny of each human being! Any human being (regardless of his seeming low moral condition) when he comes to the point of death has hope at the end of his life that heaven will be his final home!

Even though I want to make heaven my eternal home (as surely as everyone does), I must admit that I would like to have several more years to live on this planet – to love and to laugh and to work and to create and to develop!

Of course, character building comes through learning of God’s love, through the experience of personal ‘suffering’ (of many kinds). No one (in his right mind) invites suffering into his/her life, but God faithfully sends or He allows just the right kind of suffering and the right degree of suffering – all for the purpose of character building, to further prepare one for his/her entrance into heaven!

The kinds and the degree of suffering which both Venita and I have experienced has helped draw us closer to our blessed Lord- to increase our appreciation for God’s tender mercy in our life!

Many times I and Venita have experienced the ‘hand of God’s intervention’ in our life! Physically- speaking, both Venita and I could have sustained terrible injuries and even death, if it had not been for the intervention (protection) of our Lord!