When an old sol­dier stands again

Walker County Messenger - - Your Hometown News - Bo Wag­ner Evan­ge­list and au­thor

Her voice filled the air with a lovely strength. It was a song I had not heard for a while, an old song, and one full of mem­o­ries:

“In the dark of the mid­night have I oft hid my face while the storms howl above me and there’s no hid­ing place...”

It was last week dur­ing the morn­ing wor­ship ser­vice. As the soloist sang, my mind wan­dered back more than 20 years to a tiny, cin­der block house. My wife and I went there each month to have a ser­vice with two shut-ins, a man and his wife. I would bring my gui­tar, we would sing for a while, and then I would preach. Just four peo­ple and the God of heaven meet­ing to­gether.

“’Mid the crash of the thun­der pre­cious Lord hear my cry, keep me safe ’til the storm passes by...”

The old cou­ple were both bor­na­gain Chris­tians. He was also a mil­i­tary vet­eran. Some­where along the way di­a­betes had claimed his legs just be­low the torso, and he had been bedrid­den for some years. Even with­out his legs, though, he was huge. I would help his wife pull him up in the bed for ser­vice, and he weighed well over 200 pounds. I imag­ine no one ever wanted to tan­gle with him when he was whole; the man must have been at least 350 pounds of solid mus­cle.

“Till the storm passes over and the thun­der sounds no more, till the clouds roll for­ever from the sky...”

Each week we would ask him what he wanted us to sing. He asked for many old fa­vorites through the years, but each and ev­ery time he would also ask for this song, ’Til the Storm Passes By. It is a lovely, en­cour­ag­ing song, but it was not till years later that it fi­nally clicked with me.

The an­swer was in the cho­rus, but es­pe­cially in the third verse:

“When the long night has ended and the storms come no more, let me stand in thy pres­ence on that bright peace­ful shore...”

He was look­ing for­ward to stand­ing again. He knew that, since he was saved, there was com­ing a day for him when he would re­ceive a glo­ri­fied, never dy­ing body, com­plete with two per­fect legs.

In fact, he un­der­stood that there was com­ing a day of fi­nal­ity for ev­ery­thing hurt­ful to chil­dren of God. Reve­la­tion 21:4 says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, nei­ther sor­row, nor cry­ing, nei­ther shall there be any more pain: for the for­mer things are passed away.”

The for­mer things are passed away. No more wheel­chairs, no more hos­pi­tal beds, no more medicine, no more alzheimers, no more heart dis­ease, no more any­thing that hurts, wounds, kills, or even causes heartache.

His long night has ended; it did so many years ago. I can only imag­ine what it must have been like for him to stand in amaze­ment and sheer joy, and then just as quickly to bow be­fore the one who made it all pos­si­ble by his death on Cal­vary.

Mul­ti­ple times each week we go sit with a sweet dea­con’s wife who is fight­ing hard against cancer. Her hus­band went to heaven just weeks ago. I self­ishly hope she makes it for a good while longer, she is one of the most en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple I have ever met. But for her sake, I am also thrilled to think of the day, when­ever it is, that she wakes up in heaven cancer free and pain free.

Ev­ery one of us have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to live as long as we can so that we can serve the Lord as long as we can. But ev­ery born again child of God also has the pre­cious prom­ise that one he will “change our vile body, that it may be fash­ioned like unto his glo­ri­ous body,” Philip­pi­ans 3:21.

“In that land where the tem­pest never comes Lord may I, dwell with thee, till the storm passes by.”

Bo Wag­ner is pas­tor of the Cor­ner­stone Bap­tist Church in Moores­boro, N.C., a widely trav­eled evan­ge­list, and au­thor of sev­eral books, in­clud­ing a kid’s fic­tion book about the Bat­tle of Chicka­mauga, “Bro­ken Brother­hood.” He can be emailed at [email protected]

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