(I'm going to interrupt our current series, "The Choice To Make a Choice", because of the special nature of the message that follows. We'll return to the series tomorrow.)
I have a dear friend and brother in Christ named Truett Dodd. Truett is 82, and has been a missionary to Russia (mostly in Siberia) for the last 18 years. Yes, at an age when many people are considering retirement, Truett responded to the Lord's call to journey to Russia 44 times for 3-6 month visits, many during brutally cold Siberian winters when the thermometer often drops to 30-40 below zero. He's distributed tens of thousands of Bibles and hundreds of thousands of tracts. He's preached the Gospel in schools, hospitals, streets and wherever a precious Russian heart would listen to him say, "Jesus loves you and I love you." He's built churches, supported pastors, and introduced the Russian people to grits (for which they'll be forever thankful, I'm sure!).
Last year Truett was diagnosed with both serious cancer and heart disease. He's been through radiation treatments and chemotherapy, and on Monday entered a local hospital with internal bleeding. When I heard the news, I went to the hospital to see Truett. As I entered his room, I realized someone was with him. The gentleman turned out to be Truett's son Phillip, who was holding his dad's hand and praying for him. Need I say more? A son praying for his father. A beautiful scene of prayer.
While I was with Truett on Monday night, he asked that I pray for the Lord to give him sleep. I contacted a number of people who know and love Truett to inform them of his request. When I returned to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon to see Truett, I found him sleeping like a baby. Another beautiful scene. Of prayer answered.
I went to see Truett again yesterday. I was greeted once again with another moment to always remember. I entered his hospital room and found Truett lying in his bed, his hands folded, his chin on his chest, and his heart praying, softly, but loud enough that I could hear. "Lord, I need You right now. I need You to help me and strengthen me. Please don't let me be lazy." Truett, of course, didn't know that I was there and listening, and I felt like I had intruded on a sacred moment between the Lord and his trusting child. However, I didn't and I don't feel badly about being blessed with another scene. A sacred scene of prayer.
"Don't let me be lazy." I think I'm going to add that request to my personal prayer repertoire. Indeed, if an 82 year old man, lying in a hospital bed because of cancer, heart disease and internal bleeding, is still so about the business of the Lord's work that his request involves not healing, but help to fulfill his calling, well, need I say more? "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" said the Lord Jesus (John 5:17). The Spirit of that same Christ dwells in my brother Truett, and He's clearly saying the same thing in Truett's heart.
I know you'll join me in praying for Truett. And to be honest with you, I really don't think we have to pray that Truett won't be lazy. I think he and the Lord have that request covered. Oh yes, I didn't mention that after I greeted Truett yesterday, he immediately began to tell me that he felt the Lord had given him a way to get even more Bibles and tracts into the hands of the Russian people. So, pray with me that God will honor our brother's passion to continue his holy calling. I suspect that as we all pray for Brother Truett, we'll each have our own wonderful scene of prayer.
"And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"