Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Found: One Lost Sheep

Val joined me at the nursing home this morning for the first time. She seemed at ease as we walked in. Hallways and silence greeted us. We met a man with no legs named Chris. He gave me a hug and asked if we would go see a new friend of his named Reed in a room down the hall. He described a man with cancer of the kidneys and liver, who had just been told he had two months to live. With the Holy Spirit in the lead and hearts pounding, we made our way there.

The room was very dark and quiet. I was familiar with this room because of the man in the first bed, Michael. Although he has a severe brain injury I have spoken to him of Law and Grace, never really sure if he is hearing or understanding. I know that my job is to sow the seed and the Lord will take care of the rest. There are many days that I fight to keep this in my heart-but I know that God is Faithful!

In the far bed we were able to see a small, frail figure under the covers. We greeted him and he was friendly. After talking with him a bit we discovered that he had not attended church, even as a youngster. We talked about what he thought would happen after death. He wasn’t sure. We talked about the destination for all of us-the real ‘us’, our souls. We talked about the fact that our bodies fail us. Reed thought he was a good man but after speaking with him a bit he realized that God saw him in a different way. He was humbled under the Law of God and when he learned of his certain destination in Hell, he was very concerned. When Grace was introduced to him he immediately saw his need of a Savior who defeated death. After Reed was finished praying he asked God to bless us and thanked us for coming to tell him. We left Reed with the story of the God Shepherd and the 99 sheep. I asked if he knew what the name of the lost sheep was. He seemed puzzled, but when I told him it was Reed, he smiled.

We saw Chris later in the hallway and gave him the great news about his friend. He smiled widely and went to look for Reed. Chris is the grandson of a preacher from Alabama. He was wayward and ran from God until the Law stopped him in his tracks last year.
Val told me later that when her own mother was dying she kept asking the Lord, “Why does she have to die in a nursing home? It was something that she always dreaded and never wanted.” She said that her prayer was answered the very first time she went in to visit her Mom. She walked in and saw all of the people and knew that they needed someone to tell them.

As I read through the obituaries in my local paper, sometimes it makes me sad-but mostly I smile when I think of the reunions going on.

Luke 15:4-7 What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, does not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?... I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

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