During World War II, a fellow soldier said to me, “Herb, you seem to be happy. But if I had to live the way you do, I’d just as soon be dead.” He was implying that my life was so moral that it had to be boring. But I had never thought of it that way. In fact, I often felt guilty because of my many failings.
Martha, a 26-year-old woman with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), needed help. When a group of ladies from Evanston, Illinois, heard about her, they jumped into action. They began to give round-the-clock nursing care. They bathed her, fed her, prayed for her, and witnessed to her. Martha, who had not received Christ as her Savior and couldn’t understand how a loving God could let her get ALS, saw His love in these women and eventually became a Christian. She is with the Lord today because 16 women, following Jesus’ example, personified God’s love.
When I was growing up, I often heard my pastor read the Ten Commandments and our Lord’s command to love God with our whole being and our neighbor as ourselves. I knew I didn’t fully live up to those demands, but I took them seriously.
Six armed gunmen broke into the deposit boxes in a London bank and stole valuables worth more than $7 million. One woman, whose jewelry was appraised at $500,000, wailed, “Everything I had was in there. My whole life was in that box.”
During the Christmas season of 1879, an agnostic reporter in Boston saw three little girls standing in front of a store window full of toys. One of them was blind. He heard the other two describing the toys to their friend. He had never considered how difficult it was to explain to someone without sight what something looks like. That incident became the basis for a newspaper story.
A little bit of doggerel goes as fol lows: “A cheerful old bear at the zoo could always find something to do. When it bored him, you know, to walk to and fro, he reversed it and walked fro and to!” The writer apparently thought people could learn a lesson from the bear, for these creatures seem to be quite happy as long as they have enough food to eat and a few of their own kind around them.
Life looks rosy to many people. Their work is fulfilling. The house or apartment doesn’t need repair. Their bank account shows a surplus. Family members are enjoying good health. Friends are loyal.
Peter and John were in danger. The religious leaders in Jerusalem opposing the gospel had warned them to cease their missionary efforts (Acts 4:18). When the apostles reported this to the other believers, they immediately held a prayer meeting.
When I was a pastor, I often visited residents in rest homes. I’ll never forget one dear elderly lady I met. She was blind and had been bedridden for 7 years, yet she remained sweet and radiant. One day she told me about a dream she had. She was in a beautiful garden, where the grass was a luxuriant carpet beneath her and the fragrance of flowers filled the air.