Well, that’s pretty much it. I’ve received chemo, hundreds of churches and thousands of people have been praying for me. Our kids are there for me. My church supported me, often excusing me from pastoral duties when the chemo side-effects were especially bad. And of course, there is the love of my life, Sharon, my wife, who surely bears the accompanying pain and anxiety. After having moved to Scranton recently I have discovered that God still isn’t through with me. I have become somewhat of a “Pastor” to my family and even their friends. I have even had some opportunities to preach too.
What did I ever do to deserve all these blessings? Nothing! It’s just like God’s grace. It is given freely to me out of pure love and generosity.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. (1 Timothy 1:12)
Addendum: I have had a tremendous curiosity over those days when I first became a Christian. In my letters back to my girlfriend I know I talked a lot about it. Oh how I wished I could retrieve those letters and put together a more thorough story for you. That was not to be. In April of 2006 I found Betty tending her ailing mother at Allied Summit Apts. in Clarks Summit. She looked haggard and was nowhere near as attractive as I remembered her to be. I spent about two hours there, hearing a non-stop description of how her family was in sad, sad shape spiritually. Not once did she mention my illness or ask how I was. Worst of all, when I mentioned my Christian experience, she could barely remember it. She had no recollection of the church’s involvement in my conversion. She said that she was not a believer back then. I left saddened. My letters had been destroyed earlier. She invited me back anytime I wished. Sorry. No.
It all makes me wonder about my coming to Christ. Was her presence in my life really necessary? I’m beginning to think no. I would have gone to Pakistan regardless. I would have been in one mess regardless. My new roommate would have come regardless. I would have called out to God regardless. I would have come to Christ out of my need regardless. Sure, there would be no church praying for me. No “coincidences.” But my need was so great that I was positively driven to find rescue. So I would have come back from Pakistan a new believer anyway, and being assigned to Ft. Meade I would have found the Savage Assembly of God church anyway, where ultimately I would have met Sharon anyway. Betty, it seems to me now, was incidental to my story. She in fact was plan “B”. Sharon was and is plan “A” in God’s plan for my life. We have been a winning team in ministry and life. And I will keep her side of the bed warm in heaven until we are together again.
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