A gift to cherish….
Ann lived a short distance from our house.
She and her husband moved to the neighborhood
from the southern part of the state
where she had worked in a factory and he had been employed
as a heavy equipment operator.
Now retired, they spent their time caring for their home.
They had no children and were deeply devoted to each other.
Plain looking and soft spoken,
Ann had the proverbial heart of gold.
Her graying hair was not stylishly fixed
in the fashion of the day.
Each year Ann raised a beautiful circular flower garden
with a birdbath in the center
surrounded by colorful flowers.
The garden prospered under Ann’s tender care
She and her husband were always nearby, lending a helping hand
when one was needed.
Appearing on a summer’s evening to visit for a time,
there was always encouragement in planning our young lives,
with an offer to help in any way they could.
Ann, unwittingly, helped me to acquire a taste for sauerkraut.
I could never abide the bitter taste no matter how I tried.
One day, I stopped by her house.
The wonderful aroma in her kitchen caused me to inquire
about what she was cooking.
Her answer was sauerkraut.
I shared with her my utter dislike for it.
Ann suggested I should add brown sugar
and a couple of quartered apples to the sauerkraut as it cooked.
What a difference that combination made.
Perhaps there’s a lesson here.
It may be the “lack” of seasoning that causes bitterness
But the “addition” of something sweet
can change bitterness to joy
and give us a new appetite for life.
One day I learned Ann was in the hospital for stomach surgery.
The results were not good.
She had cancer and nothing could be done.
She was coming home to spend her remaining days in her own bed, her own home and surrounded by things and people she loved.
By this time, Ann was in her late sixties.
Life, for me, at that time,
had been completely turned around
by the joy and knowledge of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible was exciting.
Scripture was leaping off the pages to me,
as it had never done before.
I prayed incessantly for Ann’s healing.
I had faith and prayed for more faith
and more understanding
for the complete healing of Ann’s body.
Time passed and healing was not evident.
I searched scripture for more information.
There were many passages for guidance.
1Thess.5: 27 “pray without ceasing”.
The disciples asked Jesus
why they had not had a healing for someone
by praying for them.
Jesus responded; Matthew 17:21
“this kind does not go out
“except” by prayer and fasting.”
Further, it is noted He said to them.,
“This kind can come out by “nothing” but prayer and fasting”.
For the first and only time in my life, I fasted; and
prayed without ceasing for 24 hours.
The fasting directed my complete attention to the prayer,
and to the Spirit of God.
I was confident
that Ann would be healed.
She was not.
A few weeks later, Ann died.