Monday, June 1, 2009

Front Row Spot



I had watched this minister on television. Wandering around his auditorium. Singing the old "blood songs". Approaching eager old women in wheel chairs. Smiling. Nodding. Yanking them up onto their feet. I suspected a set up.

But the scriptures did talk of a God who heals, and of a Jesus who was the same yesterday, today and forever. We wanted to see such power in action.

We were late for the meeting. Complications. We were ushered to the very back of the auditorium. Standing room only. "Oh, that's just great. What will we see from way back here?"

But shortly into the praise, the evangelist commented that there was much too much wasted room at the front beneath the platform. "Could some chairs be rounded up from the next meeting hall and brought up here. Those people shouldn't have to stand at the back."

That included us! Now we were right up under his nose. The wandering preacher addressed and relieved neck aches, back aches, head aches, hearing handicaps, but I was not yet impressed.

There was however a stately old black woman in a wheel chair. I saw her full on and thought that she would be a probable "plant". But her face only manifested pleasure at the worship and genuine happiness for the others who received a blessing.

Our six year old Lauren was getting a little restless so we allowed her to stand and pace a bit at the end of our row. Next the minister headed toward our daughter, smiling, and shrugging his shoulders, as if to ask of her, "What's next little darlin'?"

Lauren pointed to this elderly woman in the chair. He nodded and turned toward her. She registered a modest smile of surprise. What followed was an undeniable gracious act of God's mercy. I am convinced of that.

A younger woman about five heads away from my wife began to cry. Her grandmother was the one now doing the walking. Now pushing the minister around in the chair. The grand-daughter had gotten separated from the elder, and had found herself coming to the same last-minute seats with us.

There may be a great deal of wishful thinking at such meetings. Strong power of suggestion. (I totally dismiss the mass hypnosis theory.) Occasionally crank ministers. But when honest, prevailing, reverent faith comes "under the roof" mighty things can still happen.

That "faith as a grain of mustard seed" was not large. It was simply unmixed, unadulterated, the "God kind of faith" (Mark 11:22-26)

May God get the glory.

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