Saturday, August 09, 2008

A Most Interesting Story

"The most interesting story I ever heard was told me by a man more than eighty years of age. We were sitting together on a projecting rock of a mountainside in Arkansas. Here is the story:" - B.J.

I was down in this country during the Civil War. Across on the other side yonder there were hundreds of tents where our soldiers were encamped. Measles broke out and many of the brave lads died. The epidemic got so bad we stretched some tents farther down the valley and moved all the measles patients into these tents. This, of course, was done to protect as far as possible the health of the well soldiers. I was Wardmaster in charge of the tents where the measles patients were located.

One night while I was on the ward I passed a bunk where there was a very sick soldier lad not more than seventeen years of age. The boy looked at me with a pathetic expression and said:

"Wardmaster, I believe I am going to die. I am not a Christian. My mother isn't a Christian. My father isn't a Christian. I never had any Christian training. I never did attend church. I did go with a friend to Sunday school just once. A woman taught the Sunday school class. She seemed to be such a good woman. She read us something out of the Bible about a man- I think his name was Nicodemus. Anyway it was about a man who went to see Jesus one night. Jesus told this man he must be born again. The teacher said all people must be born again in order to go to heaven when they die. I have never been born again, and I don't want to die like this. Won't you please get the chaplain so he can tell me how to be born again?"

The old man hesitated for a little. "You know, in those days I was an agnostic- at least, that is what I called myself. As a matter of fact, I wasn't anything but an old sinner.

So I told the boy, "You don't need a chaplain. Just be quiet now. Don't worry, you'll be all right." I went around the ward and in about an hour I came back to the boy's bed. He looked at me out of such sad staring eyes as he said, "Wardmaster, if you won't get me the chaplain, please get me the doctor. I am choking to death." "All right, my son, I'll get the doctor," I said. I found the doctor. He came and mopped out the throat of the lad so he could breathe a little easier. I knew the boy was going to die. I had seen many other cases just like his. The boy was so sweet he literally climbed into my heart. He thanked me for my kindness. He thanked the doctor for being so good to him. The doctor and I went away from his bed.

In about an hour I came back expecting to find the boy dead but he was still struggling. As the light began to fade from his eyes he looked up and said, "There is no use, Wardmaster. I have got to die, and I haven't been born again. Whether you believe in it or not won't you find the chaplain and let him tell me how to be born again?" I looked at him for a moment and thought about how helpless he was in the grip of death. So I said, "All right, my son, I will get the chaplain."

I walked away a few paces, turned and went back to the boy's bedside. I said, "My boy, I am not going to get you the chaplain. I am going to tell you what to do myself. Now, understand, I am an agnostic. I don't know whether there is any God. I don't know whether there is any heaven. I don't know whether there is any hell. I don't know anything. Yes, I do. I know one thing. I know my mother was a good woman. I know that if there is a God my mother knew Him. If there is a heaven I know she is there. So I will tell you what my mother told me. You can try it and see if it works. Now, I am going to teach you a verse of Scripture. The verse is John 3:16."

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

My mother said that I cannot save myself, but if I will believe in Jesus, He will save me. I asked the boy to say the verse with me. I started and he followed with a weak and trembling voice, "For God so loved the world," "For God so loved the world," "He gave his only begotten Son," "He gave his only begotten Son," "that whosoever believeth in Him," "should not perish," "should not perish," "but have everlasting life," "but have everlasting life."

"Now, my boy, my mother said if a person will trust Jesus he will not perish but have everlasting life." I referred the lad to another verse my mother taught me, but he closed his eyes, stretched his hands across his breast and in a whisper he quoted slowly, repeating some of the words several times: "For God so loved the world...He gave His only begotten Son...that whosoever, whosoever, whosoever believeth, believeth in Him, believeth in Him."

Then he stopped and said in a clear voice, "Praise God, it works. I believe in Him! I shall not perish! I have everlasting life! I have been born again. Wardmaster, your mother was right. Why don't you try it? Do what your mother said. It works, Wardmaster. This thing works! Wardmaster, before I go I want to ask you to do something for me. Take a kiss to my mother and tell her what you told me, and tell her that her dying son said, 'It works.'" I leaned over and kissed him and then as he drew his last breath, he said, "It works."

The old man, wiping tears out of his eyes and tears out of the wrinkles of his face, said, "The lad was right. It does work. Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but has now everlasting life. It works. I know it works!"

I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:16

BTP #2224

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Only a Kiss

August 6th, 2008

Dearest little Son of mine,

I want to write this little note so I can capture more perfectly a memory from today that you gave to me. But the main reason is so you'll know, when you get bigger, how much you mean to me.

Today I was tired. I had lots of work to do, and you kept getting into trouble which caused extra interruptions to me. As the day wore on, I got grumpier and grumpier without even needing a cause. I didn't praise, or encourage you when you were being good, but I did notice even if I was busy with the trouble your sisters were causing.

You bit your older sister today and you broke pieces off of my Jade plant that I so jealously guard. You climbed over the stair gate (and back) to get one of your trucks after I told you not to. You picked dandelion leaves and dropped them in the kiddie pool immediately after I told you not to do just that and you even spit your last bite of breakfast all over your lap in the hope of not eating it. And that was just your contribution to the chaos of today.

But you also did things that I appreciated - even though I didn't tell you then. You picked up some garbage on the floor of the kitchen and put it in the garbage can without being asked. You ate your dinner with enthusiasm and asked for more which you ate before Daddy got home to take us to meeting. You went to sleep for your nap right away - I didn't even have to come in once to remind you to go to sleep. You took a really nice long nap, and gave up your soother right away once you woke up - cheerfully. You rode very quietly in the car on the way to meeting without shouting out the presence of every BIG TRUCK we came within sight of. You asked nicely for juice when you got up from your nap, and you earnestly looked for your sippy cup when it was supper time. You even rode home from meeting silently while I simmered away in the front seat just waiting to pounce on the first disobedient kid.

The thing that meant the most to me today was what you did when I got you ready for bed tonight. I dragged you away from your pile of toy cars on the couch and marched you off to the nursery, but you didn't go kicking and whining in protest - I noticed that later actually. Then I changed your diaper, and put your pajama pants on you. When I sat you up to take your shirt off, you leaned in and gave me a hug. At first I thought you were just stalling - trying to put off your bedtime by a few extra minutes, but then you sat back again and put your hands on each side of my neck and gave me a great big kiss on my cheek. You didn't know it, but I almost started to cry right then. That one little kiss changed my whole day around. I thanked you and gave you a hug, and you hugged me back. Then I took your play shirt off and put your pajama shirt on. Once that was done, you gave me another kiss. And another.. and another. Finally ending up kissing me right on the lips.

You didn't say anything the entire time I got you ready for bed, but I think you knew you'd made me feel better because you had that rare, proud little smile on that is so special and that I love so much to see. So, I just want to say thank you dear son of mine. You loved me even when I probably deserved it the least, and in expressing that love, you reminded me of how much I let slip by me unnoticed - or at least unmentioned - at times. I love you so much and I forget so often that you are only just two years old. Thank you for being such a sweet loving little boy so deep down inside.

So, I'm writing this to you now, to tell you when you can understand how special you are to me. And you'll always be precious to me - You always have been, and each day that passes I love you more.

Love always,
~ Mama