12 That is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. ~ Romans 1:12 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
Sometimes when I give older folks an invitation to a church service they say, “I get my church on the television.” I don’t tell them this, but I don’t think “getting your church on television” is possible. Certainly you can hear a good sermon on television. You can probably hear a much better sermon than the sermons I preach. But hearing a sermon is only one of the reasons we go to the Lord’s House on the Lord’s Day. We also go to church to encourage the faith of others.
Over a dozen years ago, my father, whom I adored, was dying of cancer. My family was watching him die by inches as the doctors gave no hope and he got worse each day. It was the most horrible thing I’d ever been through up to that point in my life. I’m ashamed to admit it, but at that time in my life I was furious at God and doubted everything I had ever believed about Him. Some people would say “my faith was failing me.” But that wasn’t it at all. I was failing my faith.
One morning I left the ICU where my Dad was spending his final days. I went down to the chapel at the cancer hospital to try to pray and hid in the back corner of the room in the shadows where no one entering the sanctuary could see me. I looked at the cross and the stained-glassed window at the front of the room and tried to frame a petition to God. But there was no faith in my heart to form the words, and there was no prayer in my heart to be prayed.
I sat there — not praying — for a long time. Then someone slipped quietly into the chapel. I could see her, but she couldn’t see me. It was an older woman who mopped the floors in the hospital, pushing a bucket of water. She knelt down behind the second pew and began to pray aloud as she looked at the stained-glassed picture of Jesus. I felt a little guilty eavesdropping on her prayer. But I was drawn in because she spoke to Him like she knew Him and He knew her.
And at that moment, I experienced a sort of miracle. I thought to myself, “You know, if the cleaning woman can believe in Jesus, well, a preacher ought to be able to do that, too.” And although at that time I was faithless, her words of faith rekindled the faith that was dying in me. You see, the cleaning lady didn’t just come to church that morning for her. The cleaning lady came to church for me.
Make sure to go to the Lord’s House this week. You know you need to. And somebody else probably needs you there, too.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 26 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school and teaches Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 21) and Seth (age 17) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the folks are mutually encouraged by one another’s faith.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.