I was sorting through my emails when I saw a request from in New Jersey to pray for her friend, Ruth Yost. She was dying and the doctors had notified the family. I was exhausted emotionally and physically. I just wanted to get out of town to rest, read and fish. I prayed about a 2.4-second prayer, short even for a bull ride. Basically, I punted with no hang time. I mumbled “Heal er Jesu…” and was about to delete it, but my finger froze over the delete button. I had never met Ruth Yost nor did I have room on my emotional plate for another burden. As a pastor, I wanted to get out of town and plead with my church that no one sin, get sick or have a crisis until I left town. “Please, just behave and don’t do anything stupid for one week. Please.” So, Lynette hits me with this request from a thousand miles away, but suddenly the importance of one life tugged on my cranky heart. I stopped and prayed and waited to see if a word would float to the surface of my conscience.
Ruth was bleeding internally and the doctors were not able to stabilize her blood platelets. She was 1,000 and normal is 200,000. I was thinking it was time to pray for her family to be comforted. Maybe it was time to delete her. About 300,000 people die every day on this planet. Life goes on. Death happens 300,000 times a day! About 100% of the people in Africa die eventually. Remarkable the USA has the same statistics. And Colombia. And New Jersey. So let’s pray something sweet and move on. In the midst of so much suffering, what is the life of one lady?
Somehow this lady got my attention. Ruth was like the sick lady in the Bible who heard that Jesus was passing by. He was on an important mission with his important men, all filled with a sense of importance. Thousands of people crowded around and each one had important issues. In the swirl of all this importance, she sticks out her bony finger and touches Jesus. He slams on the breaks and wants to know who had touched Him with that tug of faith. She stopped the whole parade just for her little healing. Have you ever had one person in a crowd get your attention? What is that?
As I waited, Jesus spoke to me. Really. Have you ever been so tired that you are looking at words on a page but your eyes are not focused on the words, much less on the meaning of the words? Then suddenly, you focus and realize you are looking at words that say something? I was waiting to receive direction from God and I suddenly realized that His words were already there in my mind, waiting for me to see them. These were the words, “Like King David carried Mephibosheth to the table, tell Ruth I am carrying her to My table of healing”.
There is the beautiful story of King Saul’s crippled son, Mephibosheth who thought the new king, David, was out to kill him, but David was out to kill him with kindness. Mephibosheth saw himself as a dog, and when David’s soldiers knocked on his door, he thought he was a dead dog. The soldiers surprised him and carried him to the king’s table where he ate like a king. Sometimes we are so weak we can’t even crawl to His table and somebody carries us. Sometimes we are so hurt, we can’t even imagine that there is such a table, and somebody carries us.
So I wrote Lynette to tell Ruth that Jesus is carrying her to the table. She did. and a week later, Jesus carried her. I receive this email from Ruth:
You prayed for me, at Lynette Brenner’s request, and received a message of healing for me. Last week they were notifying my next of kin and three days later I was home and healed, inside and out. To say thank you is so puny compared to the gratitude I have for you and for our God. God bless you in your work. You are the hands and feet of our Lord.
With deepest gratitude,
She thinks I had something to do with it. I was about to delete her. Her faith stopped Jesus and, I believe, Jesus stopped my finger above the delete button. That’s how it works. We can’t pray for the 300,000 about to die today, but we can pray for that pesky person who tugs on Jesus who tugs on us. Also, look around. Do you think you got there in your own? Somebody carried you, too.
– Andrew McMillan