Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Old Saints

During my stay in China, I went to a Korean Church out of town— WAY out of town— to an old church filled with people and the Holy Spirit! 
At this church service, they were honoring the founders of the church---the ones who were still alive. That brought tears to my eyes. These founders were all about 80 or 90 years old, mostly crooked little bent women with white hair, many wrinkles and short bowed legs. Most had dull expressions. Some stood up painfully and limped.   
Their church had been founded during the time the Japanese were occupying this part of the country and there were many years of war. Later, the Russians flooded in and looted everything in this area. This area also has a recent history of much hardship due to the Cultural Revolution.
As the elderly founders were called up to the front, they didn’t seem enthusiastic. None of them smiled or waved. They just stood there in front of the congregation, almost as if they felt out of place.
          When the last one was called up front, the minister, a young man, gave a glowing prayer in honor of them. I prayed also, thinking about the hardships they must have encountered over the years in this harsh land--and then to plant a church that has withstood time, wars and invasions from other countries
When the prayer was over, these great saints still just stood silent and unsmiling until someone from the audience shouted, "Sing a song!" 
Without hesitation, one small frail woman broke into song, an obvious praise to the Lord. Immediately, all the others joined in, their voices strong, eyes and mouths smiling, faces literally glowing! Quickly they raised their arms as they danced and twirled in their own way, giving glory to God!
I sang along, clapping and praising, but I couldn’t sing for long. I put my face in my hands and sobbed! 
Here was a group of old saints who have, like Paul said, "run the good race and fought the good fight." They obviously didn’t want glory for themselves, but wanted to give ALL glory and honor to the One Who had sustained them! The transformation was clear. They were so joyful in giving thanks to God and they pranced before the Lord like young children!
I too, someday, want to say, "I have fought the good fight, I have run my race!" And I hope to hear my Heavenly Father say to me, "Well done! Good and faithful servant!" 
I know I have a long way to go before I come close to measuring up to those old saints I saw today who have kept the faith, and I am so thankful that our loving Father doesn’t measure us against them, but rather loves us in our own way and prods us along as we work out our OWN path before the Lord. 
I thank Him for His continued mercy and patience in teaching me about Him. I realize even more, what a slow learner I am!

By a friend who needs to remain anonymous

As told to Tom Luther

Portland, Oregon

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