Among the many people I have had the privilege of ministering to over the last 25 years there have been those who have ministered to me so much more that I could ever give to them. Those saints of God who have prayed for me daily, and who have looked out for me and shared God’s amazing love with me, in a way that has affirmed by calling at times of doubt, and kept me sane in times of trouble.
One such lady was in my first pastoral appointment – her name was Ann. Ann was a retired widow who had been married to a great Scottish evangelism who had spent his whole life telling people about the saving power of Jesus. What made him so remarkable was he had no legs – which I believe he lost in a railway accident. Nevertheless this had not stopped him and on a skateboard he had literally been all over Scotland preaching of the Love of Jesus and women and men had responded to his powerful testimony and life changing message.
By the time I came into Ann life she had been without her beloved husband for several years, and she had settled down into her retirement bungalow and promised God she would attend the nearest church to wherever she retired – and so she was part of our congregation, I am delighted to say. Her denominational allegiance was not strong, but her faithfulness to Jesus was second to none, and her loyalty and support of her pastor was exemplary.
She had such a love for God’s people that she was a real asset to our fellowship, and she looked out for other retired ladies in her area and became a genuine friend to many of them. Her whole life radiated the love and peace of God, and despite a life which can’t have been easy Ann never complained or wallowed in self pity, she simply praised God.
When we met together she would always ask me what things I needed prayer about. What was happening with the children and my husband? What practical things should she pray for, and how was I doing spiritually? Things people don’t usual ask the minister, she was never afraid to delve into those things and sincerely bring them all to God in prayer. In my heart I knew that here was a real saint of God; yet she used to say to me – Alison you are I live on higher ground. Some people chose not to live there, and remain in the mire and clay – but we share this higher ground together.
I had no doubt that Ann lived on higher ground, but I was so aware of my own shortcomings, failures, lack of faith, weaknesses and inadequacies that I struggled to see myself on the same level as her. And yet, I know that when we met and prayed, when we talked and when I listened to her amazing life stories and testimonies – without a doubt I was there – transporting to that Higher Ground.
Thank You Father, for those wonderful people who have listed me up and enabled me to plant my feet on higher ground.
Jesus – during this Lenten season – remind me again this is my job now to enable others to do the same.
Lord hear us – Lord graciously hear us!