A couple of years ago, a friend re-introduced me to an old man; a friend of the family. He had suffered a stroke and lost most of his medium and longterm memory.
Struck with pity and a determination to treat Jim with kindness, we exchanged greetings. His quizzical looks ironically stirred up great memories.
Jim often visited his children and myself while we were away in boarding school, bearing the same gifts and Sunday roast lunches for all of us! His wife did the same.
Soon after his stroke, Jim discovered he no longer loved his wife Joan. She had moved to their rural home, partly to recover and in part to hide her pain.
Their grown children were leading happy and prosperous lives in different parts of the world. They flew home to reconcile their parents but gradually accepted their demise.
Jim went on with his life, keeping the same routines and none of the same friends.
Soon, the young vultures began to close in on their isolated prey.
Jim believed he could blend in with any crowd and any age. Ordinarily, an even keeled man, his sensibilities deserted him when they were required the most.
One of the ladies worked alone. A few represented well-heeled business entities, eager to acquire Jim’s empire.
Jim danced and partied, making new friends and laughing his new life away.
Hundreds of miles away, Joan teared at the news, replaced the telephone receiver, then knelt to pray. She asked God to guard Jim’s life for His own sake.
Years of prayer and fasting began with one simple prayer. Jim was delivered after a second stroke and a vision soon after. Barely audible and mostly incoherent, Jim narrated his encounter with Jesus in a dream the sane night he had the stroke.
Jesus comforted Jim and let him know why it had happened. Jim awoke, pillows awash in tears and rejoicing at the Holy Spirit’s presence in his recently sin-filled heart.
He shared his story with doctors and nurses; a few left aghast. Only two took time to listen. Days later, they celebrated their salvation with Jim and Joan.
Then one night, his drifted off into a fitfully heavy slumber. Jim literally felt as though he was going under. He gasped for air, clawing violently at the darkness. ‘Jesus!’ he croaked, looking up at the two angels reaching out to him. Then he knew what unearthly depths of despair he had escaped.
God’s wisdom and comfort he sought each day, crying, worshiping and praising God as often as he could.
Joan prayed with him and her peace and joy were restored. God healed Jim and their marriage, leading them to a new life of ministry together.