“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
I was found by those who did not seek me.”
Isaiah 65:1 (NIV)
When I met this particular Christian gentleman he was in his late 70’s. We soon became fast friends. Every time I preached in the church he attended we would have a coffee after the service or I would meet him in a restaurant for a meal.
He had lived a long and fascinating life. For some years he had served in the merchant marines as a cook aboard a ship that sailed the seven seas. He had gone ashore in many of the ports around the world. Originally he came from England and his soft accent could still be heard although most of his adult life had been lived away from his home country.
By the time I met him his wife had passed away, his children scattered around the world and he did not have a living relative in the country. One night as we had supper, I persuaded him to tell me his story. He had been raised an Anglican in England but had turned away from the Lord and the church during his adult life.
When his wife passed away, he decided he should return to the church of his parents. One Sunday he started walking toward an Anglican church near his home. As he went along the street he passes a Bible Chapel and heard singing. The congregation was not large but they sang with joy and enthusiasm. He decided to enter the sanctuary and sit down to listen.
After a few hymns were sung a preacher got up and commenced preaching the glories of Jesus. The man had never heard anything quite like it before. The rich liturgy of the Anglican Church that he had known from his youth took on new life for him. While he continued to attend the Bible Chapel, he would read his Book of Common Prayer every day and delight in the beautifully worded hymns and prayers.
The last few times I visited him before he went to heaven he was living in a senior’s residence in Unionville, Ontario. On a plaque over his bed was a delightful prayer from his beloved prayer book. The prayer sums up very well the heart’s desire of every child of God. Perhaps it is one you would like to pray before you take your rest tonight.
Oh Lord support us all the day long of this troublous life,
until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes,
the busy world is hushed,
the fever of life is over and our work is done.
Then Lord, in Thy mercy, grant us safe lodging,
a holy rest, and peace at the last;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.