All of us have had significant moments in life. It may have been a chance meeting with a stranger. That meeting helped change the course of our life. Or someone said just one sentence or even a short phrase. As a result our lives were changed forever. I often meet folk who have had some unusual but very significant happenings in their lives. Most of their stories will never be known except to some family members and close friends. I hope in future days to share in these articles some of these stories. Otherwise they might never be known. Today I introduce to you an older woman whom I will call Pam. Pam is now in her nineties. (This is not her real name. She wishes to point readers to the Lord and not have them focus on herself.) This is her story in her words.
“I was telling my story to the new Parish Priest. He thought I was a bit of a nut at first but by the time I finished, he was the one who told me to write it down for others to read. This is my story.
Over 50 years ago I had to go from Dubbo to Sydney. It was for a very important family business matter. It was on the night train in those days. I was quite sick. On that train there was only one seat that wasn’t occupied. It happened to be alongside me. I was quite pleased about that. When we got to Blayney, a young woman got in and sat in the seat. She said she had tried to get on the train but there were no seats. Suddenly somehow there was a seat for her. She sat alongside of me and took my hand and said “You’re sick aren’t?” I was very sick and I said, “How do you know?” She replied, “I was sent here to look after you”. She put her hands on my head like a priest giving a blessing, made the sign of the cross on my forehead and said some prayers. I don’t remember what she said. Then she said, “Just whisper Jesus’ name. He is only a prayer away. Go to sleep now. You’re going to be alright.”
When we pulled into Central Station in Sydney, we got ready to leave the train. She made the sign of the cross on my forehead again and said “Just whisper Jesus’ name. He is only a prayer away”. Then she disappeared and I didn’t ever see her again. That day everything went so smoothly for me. It was like a miracle in itself! I told just a few of my family when I came home.
Then 50 years later, I went with my granddaughter to Scotland. Some of my family came from Scotland, and we were at Lochness. We got off the boat and started to walk towards where we had to wait for the bus or coach back to Edinburgh. Suddenly I couldn’t breathe. I lost my voice and I was staggering. My granddaughter said, “What’s wrong Nan? What’s wrong?” I couldn’t answer her. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. They got me to a lounge chair in the waiting room where we were to wait for the bus to go to Edinburgh. The room was crowded. A tall woman came over to me. I was still gasping for breath. She put her hands on my forehead like a priest. She made the sign of the cross on my forehead and said “Lord Jesus, take this malady away from this woman and make her whole”. She stood there for a while with her hands on my head. I guess she was saying prayers. Then she said “You’re going to be alright now”. I replied, “Thank you!” Suddenly I realised I had my voice back again. She said to me, “Just whisper Jesus’ name. He is only a prayer away.” Then she turned and walked back into the crowd and I never saw her again. I said to my grand-daughter “That was a kind of miracle wasn’t it?” She replied, “I know Nan. I saw it and so did a lot of other people.”
I came home to Dubbo. It took me 50 years to realise I was supposed to do something with this precious message. I asked my youngest daughter if she would type the message for me on cardboard or something and my daughter said, “I’ll do better than that. I’ll laminate them for you!” Some time later she did a hundred or so of them. Later a new Bishop came to Bathurst. A coach-load of people went down to hear him. I knew I just had to go, not to see the Bishop, but to take that special precious message.
On the way down I thought that there was no way in the world I was going to do this. Everyone was chattering and having a great time. So I gave out only one to a University student who was sitting alongside of me. She said she was very pleased to get it and said “I will always keep this”. I said to her “I’m sure this message ‘Just whisper Jesus’ name. He is only a prayer away’ will bring you great blessings as it has me.”
Coming back on the coach, I thought, “How am I going to do this? Everyone was talking away the same as they did on the way down. Yet I knew I was there for a reason. I was meant to bring those laminated messages. I said softly, “Lord Jesus, please, you have to help me. I can’t do this alone.” All of a sudden the bus stopped. The people stopped talking. I was shaking like a leaf. But I got up to tell them that I felt that I had to do this. I said, “Would you like me to tell you something very special that happened twice in my lifetime“. The bus driver handed me the microphone. So I told them what I have already told you. Then I said, “If you would like one, I have got them in an envelope. I will pass them around.” I can honestly say that the envelope came back empty. I felt a bit sad because the only person who didn’t get one was the bus driver.
Many people have said to me since, “I’ve got it on my dressing table, and I say it every day.” I was so pleased to know it was received so wonderfully. But I knew I had to keep on giving them out everywhere I could. On one occasion a man sat alongside of me. I had never seen him before. He was a stranger to town. He must have had Parkinson’s disease as he was shaking so badly. I handed the laminated message to him. I told him what I have told you here. There were tears in his eyes as he said, “Thank you! God bless you! I can’t thank you enough for this! You were meant to talk to me today!”
On another occasion a lady was sitting several seats ahead of me in the church. I knew she was praying. I slipped in beside her before church started and I gave her the laminated message and told her the story. She said, “You were meant to tell me this today. You were sent to tell me this today. It is what I really needed. Have you any more?” I said, “Yes!” She said, “I have three sons, could I have one for each?” Of course I gave them to her.
Then just before Easter last year at the Lenten prayer meeting in my daughter’s home in Dubbo, everyone was telling different things that happened in their lives. I shared my story. When I mentioned that some people might think it was a coincidence that the bus stopped, a very well educated gentleman in the small group said, “My dear, that was no coincidence, it was meant to happen!”
I was personally blessed as I read Pam’s story above. We often think that the important people, the brilliant people, have the greatest impact for God in this world. But Pam’s story shows that He uses ordinary people who want to be used by Him. God placed ordinary people in Pam’s path who brought His blessings into her life. She in turn humbly began to share the blessing she had received with others whom God had brought into her everyday situations.
As I wrote in a previous article, God does use people in His purposes. But it is not just their ability that is the important factor. Rather it is their avail-ability to Him which determines whom He can use to impart His blessings. Pam’s story motivates me to use all the abilities He has given me to live for Him. Yet at the same time it reminds me that I am only useful to others if I am available to Him.
Blog No.095. Jim Holbeck. Posted on Friday 21st September 2012