Sunday, June 08, 2014

"How did you know to come?"

The following is from What Makes Life Worth Living by W. Phillip Keller (who also authored A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23):

He does not bestow the generous gifts of His person apart from or detached from Himself. Christ comes to us Himself, and in the person of His own gracious Spirit imparts to us His very own life, so that life burns bright with the lovely hope of His presence. That is the way in which I overcome all the troubles of this day and every other day.

Just moments after penning those lines, a compelling, irresistible, inner conviction came to me that I should drive over the mountains some thirty miles to see a younger couple I had not seen in two years. The gracious Spirit of Christ constrained me to set aside every other duty and go at once.

It was a glorious, midwinter morning with sharp sunlight illuminating every crag and ridge in bright light. In the frosty clearings, cattle were munching on dry hay scattered by ranchers. But vultures soared against the blue sky on dark wings. They were like an omen of the awful agony that would engulf this glorious day in grief.

The instant I drove into the barnyard, I was met by a stranger with the explosive news: "Their son of seventeen hung himself. His dad found him before sunrise this morning."

Softly I stepped into the sprawling old ranch house. It was full of neighbors, friends, and clergy who gathered in its grand old room and who had come to weep and console the family.

The moment the distraught parents saw me through their tears, they leaped to their feet, cried out in anguish, "Phillip - Phillip," then rushed over to fling themselves into my outstretched arms. They simply sobbed, unable to stop . . . utterly shattered . . . utterly crushed . . . utterly devastated.

"How did you hear? How did you know to come?"

They pressed me close. They hugged me. They clung to me. All I could reply was that God, my Father, by His gentle Spirit had sent me to them in His compassion, clean over the mountains, by His loving care.

In the darkness of that dreadful hour I was able to assure these two precious people that Christ Himself was here. He could set their spirits free. He could pour the healing of His Spirit into their wounded souls. He would, in His time, bring great good out of this awful anguish.

A comforting hope in God began to fill that huge ranch house. We wept together. We prayed together in the wondrous compassion of our Father!

Over and over the remark was repeated, "Today, in truth, we have seen a miracle of God's grace in sending you to us."

Softly I slipped out of the crowd and drove away, floods of tears streaming down my burning cheeks. But those tears were commingled sorrow and joy. For in the intense stillness of that sweeping mountain valley an acute, palpable awareness of Christ's presence was all around, on and over the earth.

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