Someone once called them “windows of light in the soul during times of darkness.”
This past week I turned a year older according to the calendar. And, even though I don’t really feel that much older than I did a few years ago, I’ve found birthdays to be a good time for reflecting on years gone by.
Not just a nostalgic journey down Memory Lane, mind you—but a time of honest reflection on where you’ve been and how God has blessed. It’s also a time for honestly looking at where you are and where you want to be in the coming year.
As I thought back over the years, my earliest remembrance of going to church was at Kerr Baptist Church, a mission of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock. The original building was an old, white-framed building with slat-backed, wooden pews, which was heated by a wood stove in the back.
When I was around five-years-old, the men of the church built a new church building out of concrete blocks. That old building still stands there today, although there’s been no church meeting there for around 40 years now. The church sign, though faded, still hangs over the front door. And, the building’s now filled with an assortment of junk—old chairs, Christmas decorations, boxes, etc.
A few years ago I stopped and walked through the building while passing through the area. And, my heart ached to see the condition of the building; yet, as I stood on the platform at the front where the pulpit used to be and closed my mind, I could still almost see the smiling faces of those 30-35 people who attended and even hear their melodious voices.
It was in front of that altar where I first met Jesus that night and invited Him into my heart at the age of seven. And, it was in the back of that auditorium where a preacher-boy from the University of Arkansas asked me one night during a revival he was leading what I was going to be when I grew up.
And, I replied, “A preacher.”
Hadn’t really thought about it before that time, but out came that answer. And, some five years later—at the age of 15—I surrendered my life to preach the Gospel and have been doing so now for almost 43 years. Little did I know that some 20 years later I’d meet that preacher-boy again halfway around the world in the Philippines, where he and his wife served as missionaries. And, little did I know some six years later my family and I would move to the Philippines to serve alongside them as fellow missionaries for 10 years.
Isn’t it amazing how God works? Glory!!
After reaching the sixth grade we moved closer to my hometown of Lonoke and began attending another church. Even now I can see ‘ole Archie Cox, a man in his 70’s, up there leading the singing. He’d never had voice lessons or conducting lessons; but, he’d stand there, waving his arm back-and-forth, singing at the top of his voice those songs from the yellow, paper-backed “Heavenly Highway Hymnal.”
Some years later Archie had a stroke, leaving him paralyzed on one side. But, I’d go to visit him and we’d begin singing those old songs together. Even though his mouth was drawn down on one side, he still sang at the top of his voice, with hot tears flooding down his face.
Precious memories to be sure!
And, there are so many more I could share; but, time or space doesn’t permit such. Suffice it to say that God has been good to me and blessed me more than I could ever tell. I can only pray that I’ll continue to be faithful to Him in the remaining years He gives me so that many more can also come to know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord.
At least then I’ll know my time here on earth hasn’t been in vain.
Here’s hoping you’ll spend a little time this week reflecting back over your own life and will give thanks for God’s goodness to you. And, if you’ve lived your life to this point without Him, there’s no better time than right now to surrender your life to Him and begin compiling your own “Precious Memories” for future days. You’ll be glad you did. God bless you.