Saturday, May 25, 2013


When I was overseas, I was working with a man who was under great stress and pressure. He was a maverick sort of missionary. He didn’t fit the pattern or mold of what you think of as a missionary. His ministry was in great part to the soldiers, who happened to be on the island of Okinawa by the thousands—in fact, it might be safe to say tens of thousands.

I went to his home one evening to visit with him, and his wife said he wasn’t there but was probably down at the office. The office was downtown in a little alley off of the streets of Naha. It was a rainy night. And I decided that I would get on the bus and travel down to be with Bob. She’d mentioned his stress and pressure, so I expected to find the man folded up in despondency, discouragement, and depression, and just ready to finish it off.

I got off that little bus and I walked down the alley about a block and a half and I turned right, down a smaller alley, to a little hut with a tatami mat inside. As I got away from the street noise, I heard singing, “Come, Thou fount of every blessing, / Tune my heart to sing Thy grace.” And then that next stanza, “Prone to wander—Lord, I feel it, / Prone to leave the God I love.”

Quietly I eavesdropped on his private praise service. As I stood in the rain and looked through the walls of that little cheap hut, I saw a man on his knees with his hands toward heaven giving God praise, with his little spiral notebook, worn from use. And I saw him turn from page to page, where he would read it to God, then he would find a hymn and he would sing it to God.

And the remarkable thing is that that pressure that he was under did not leave for perhaps another two weeks, it seems. But that praise service alone before God absolutely revolutionized his life.

From Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations and Quotes - Charles R. Swindoll. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1998. Pages 627-628.

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