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Thursday, April 23, 2009


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

"'The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.'" -- Jesus (Luke 18:27)

I walked into the nearby mart in early morning for coffee. But Ken was not in his usual place to greet me with that broad smile. Not! And not good.

"Where’s Ken this morning. Having a morning off, is he?" I asked one of our favorite Lakes Region clerks, Rita. She had no other customers waiting at the time so she took a moment to explain that Ken had just had triple bypass surgery.

"What?" I exclaimed. Ken was just there at his post in supposedly fine shape several days before; now he was in intensive care. Could hardly believe it.

You see, for months we had been praying for Ken’s wife. She had been diagnosed with cancer. So the whole routine was set up to bring her back to good health — chemotherapy, the works! She is one determined lady. Therefore, perseveringly she has returned — almost — to the health she enjoyed previously.

In fact, recently she had the clan over for "the big meal". Ken let me in on all the detail. "We won’t have anybody’s turkey stuffing but my wife’s," Ken underlined. So it was that the family thanked the good Lord for bringing good cells back to Ellen this winter season.

"But now it’s Ken’s turn," Rita said with concern.

"Yes, we just spent the last several months interceding for Ellen. And now we remember Ken," I answered, remembering Jesus' words: "'Said I not to you that if you believe, you should see the glory of God?'" John 11:40

Ellen and Ken are both extremely strong and basic in their faith. Therefore, I have no doubt as to how they are persistently making their soul journeys. They love one another. They love God. They are in good hands. "For He (Jesus) said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5)

Yet this Saturday morning as I walked through the mart's front door I got that lonesome feeling all over again. Sales are to the right and left. The coffee shop is buzzing with conversation. Of course, shoppers are tugging at their bags and wallets.

But it’s just not the same. And I don’t like it. But though it’s not what I would have ordered for friend Ken, I know that I can grant him another gift. The gift of prayer. With that, I recalled: "They who wait on the Lord. . .shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

"We prayed for Ellen. Now it’s time to pray for Ken," a friend put it rightly. So it is with prayers we surround others in hospitals or nursing homes or armed forces or wherever.

It’s one of the finest presents we can wrap from the heart.

"'If you can believe, all things are possible to that one who believes.'" -- Jesus (Mark 9:23)

"'Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.'" -- Jesus (John 14:27)