Sometimes there are happenings in our lives that bring together intersections of Divine purpose. I call them Divine Appointments when it involves providentially bringing two people together, but when it’s more than two, maybe three or four, then something huge is going on in my book. This is exactly what happened when the Lord led me to minister to my new friend, a member of the Greatest Generation, Ezra Hower late last summer.
Ezra, a survivor of the D-Day invasion during WWII had only attended our church about three months, but we hit it off from the first day I met him. I can still recall meeting him at the back of our church in his ever present suspenders. He had an eternal mischievous smile and when you shook his hand it was like grabbing the limb of a knarly oak tree. Those hands had seen a lot of miles and a lot of life. I also visited his home to see his marvelous craftsmanship of scrollwork which was just amazing to see the intricacy and beauty of that work.
Unfortunately, he was stricken with bone cancer and was in the hospice unit of the Veteran’s Hospital, and I decided to take my guitar and go sing to him one evening. I arrived and he was sleeping peacefully so I just opened my song book at the bottom of his bed and began singing some of the great old hymns of the faith like Amazing Grace, Glory to His Name, Softly & Tenderly, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Sweet Hour of Prayer, The Old Rugged Cross and many more.
When I first began singing Ezra woke up and smiled and started to sing along with me and then gradually fell back to sleep. When I started another song he would wake up, sing along and then fall back to sleep. This was repeated with every song until I came to the song “Life’s Railway to Heaven” in which he seemed to gain an extra shot of energy and sang all three verses and choruses with me. The chorus goes like this, “Blessed Savior Thou wilt guide us, till we reach that golden shore, where the angels wait to join us, in Thy praise forevermore.”
About that time there was a knock on his room door and a nurse peeked in and asked, “Could you sing a little louder?” Wow, that was the first time, in a hospital, that someone asked me to sing louder! She went on to explain, “There’s a man across the hall who’s “passing” and he’s enjoying the music”. Well that just stopped me in my tracks! Here I was, in a place where a man was on the precipice of eternity and I was singing the songs of heaven! Not to mention, Ezra was not too many days distant from eternity as well. I could feel a heavenly atmosphere and a Presence in the room. It was as if I was called to be at the right place at the right time as part of a heavenly choir, and I was struck with the profound impact of that moment in time.
So I turned my book back to the beginning and began again to sing the songs of heaven. We sang and sang and sang. Then Ezra nodded off and I knew it was time to go. I packed up my guitar and stepped quietly out the door and was greeted by the nurse who gave me a nice hug as she expressed her gratitude. I didn’t ask about the man across the hall but I was content to believe I had played my part in a very special and Providential event.
“Blessed Savior, Thou wilt guide us, Till we reach that golden shore, Where the Angels wait to join us, In Thy praise forevermore!”
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