I had signed up to deliver Christmas baskets for the needy through our church. The idea was to take groceries, clothing and toys to families who were struggling financially.
But the end-of-year holiday crunch had caught up with me. I was facing a huge deadline at work and kept putting off the delivery of my baskets. So here it was…December 23…and I was hastily trying to get these baskets delivered to homes all across Knox County.
My heart wasn’t in it.
Carson, my six-year old daughter, and I had five homes to visit. Our instructions were to deliver the baskets and to pray with these families before leaving. At each stop I rushed through the prayer-thinking only about the next stop on the list.
Our last stop was in a desolate part of the county. The directions led me to a gravel road that curved up a mountain. After sunset we stopped in front of a battered, aging trailer. Surely no one lived here…
A frail woman opened the door and welcomed us inside. Her trailer was sparely furnished and very cold. I could feel gusts of wind pushing through cracks in the windows and doors. It was obvious that she lived alone.
She told us that she was facing a losing battle with cancer. She had been hopeful that her treatments would help, but rounds of chemotherapy and radiation had ravaged her body and weakened her ability to fight the cruel disease. She told us that she had a few months left to live.
It was a sobering sight.
I felt sorry for this woman- fighting cancer all by herself. I didn’t know what to say, as I was overwhelmed with grief.
Carson reminded me that we needed to pray. The three of us stood in her trailer and I said a soft, sad prayer for her.
Then it happened.
We were turning to go and she asked if she could pray for us. She took our hands and led the most beautiful prayer I’ve ever heard. She prayed for me as a husband, father and son. She prayed for Carson as a daughter and leader at her school. She prayed for family’s health and happiness. And she prayed for our “unselfish act of service” that night- and how much that visit had meant to her.
With all her pain and suffering- she thought of us. She prayed unselfishly for us while facing the reality of death.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
She told us that she had no fear about her circumstances. She had already overcome this world.
Carson continued to talk and hold her hand as I returned to the truck to get extra food we had packed. We wished her a Merry Christmas and headed back out into the night.
I fought back tears as we drove down that mountain. I was ashamed that I had approached this task with such a bad attitude.
We delivered food for her that evening, but she returned to us an even greater blessing. She gave us a gift of hope.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
I pray that we all have good attitudes this holiday season. I pray that we find someone to lift up during this time of year. Perhaps in doing so- we’ll be the ones who receive the blessing.
Please let me know how I may pray for you.