If No One Comes

At eleven, Dan’s disdain--his downright dread--of the elderly pastor’s invitation hymn appeared indomitable. Our youngest always set his Sunday sight on Nonie’s scrumptious lunch of fried chicken and peach cobbler rather than on #162 in the Broadman Hymnal--”Just As I Am.” Further, Pastor Roach’s “closing” regularly became muted by the 12-noon MKT railroad cars rumbling past our little country church at Willow Grove. “If no one comes on this last stanza, we’ll close,” vowed the sweating preacher. Yet (in Dan’s recollection), someone always came! In retrospect, Dan’s plight with Brother Roach’s penchant to sing one more soul into Heaven seemed near-insurmountable. (It was!} But then some forty years later a far more critical plight beset Dan. After an extended emergency transport of prisoners, Dan the driver parked and locked the state van inside an empty barn-like building after midnight, turning weary thoughts toward home. But home suddenly became remote and even impossible when the terror of heavy thudding footsteps--not without a distinct, sinister aura of danger--came closer and closer with every panicking heartbeat. As Dan, choked by fear, tried to pray, a plethora--make that a Plethora--of unmistakable, distinctly-familiar stanzas filled his being! And this time it was he who issued the invitation: “Deep Within My Heart, a Melody,” “Come Thou, Almighty King,” “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me,” “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” “Never Alone,” “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus,” “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms....” Within mere moments the evidence of danger had miraculously dissipated and disappeared! So Dan’s testimony is this: “Mom, I didn’t realize I even remembered those songs. Didn’t know they were still inside me....” Thus, it is with grateful tears of joy that my son and I both affirm: God’s Word never returns void but always prospers in the place wherein He sends It. Indeed God is our Shield and High Tower. The righteous run into It and are saved. And that Angel of the Lord (His Name is Jesus!) does surround those who fear Him! “If no one comes?” Someone did come to Dan that night. And He comes to us all! But wait a minute now. In these encroaching-evil times, even at this midnight hour, what is that Joyful Sound Christians can clearly hear? “I AM coming soon. My coming is even at hand!”-- Revelation 22:10. Always Another Stanza!