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Our Current Virtual Church Message

No One Knew

Although deeply grieved by the loss of his late wife, Martin loved his life. Martin loved his tools even more. Martin was the third generation to craft wooden toys with the tools in his tool shed. Every week was Christmas at the tool shed. Generations of children were blessed by the work of Martin, Martin's father, and Martin's grandfather. Days flew by from season to season and year to year because of the joy Martin produced with his saws, lathes, routers, drills, and all sorts of woodworking tools in the tool shed.

The years flew by and Martin's hair turned white. Saw dust would fly as new toys were produced. In an electronic and digital age, every kid who touched one of Martin's toys was somehow changed for life. When the children grew up into adults, as adults, these people could not explain the transforming effect of Martin's toys.

On the first Thursday in November, Martin was walking to the tool shed from his little house by the lake and everything went black. Martin awoke in the emergency room at County General with wires connected to his chest, tubes connected elsewhere, and a headache that made him shudder from the pain. Three IV's were dripping, and two monitors were making vertical blips on small TV screens. Everything went black again and this time when Martin awoke he was in a regular room still connected to a bevy of equipment.

Martin went to move his right hand but there was no movement. He could not move his right arm, or move his right foot, or move anything on his right side. Martin made eye contact with a petite dark-haired young woman who was adjusting one of his IV's. She leaned over so she was about two feet away and said, "Martin, can you hear me?" All Martin could do was blink his eyes. Martin blinked his eyes one time. The girl then asked, "Martin, do you know what happened to you?" and to this question Martin blinked his eyes two times. The young woman caught on and said, "Does one blink mean 'Yes'?" To this question Martin blinked one time. The young woman said, "The doctor will be in to see you in a few minutes. He is making his rounds now."

In a few minutes the doctor walked into the room. The nurse who had been conversing with Martin informed the doctor Martin was responsive to simple questions through eye blinks. The doctor sat down next to Martin. Martin had been turned on his side so the doctor and Martin were eye to eye. The doctor said, "I am Dr. Paul Miles, and you are in the hospital because you have had a massive stroke. You are lucky to be alive. Your neighbor found you one morning laying in your yard. You were badly dehydrated so we think you were lying on the ground for a long tine. Your right side has been paralyzed because of severe damage to your brain. You are on blood thinners to prevent an occurrence of any further strokes and prevent a heart attack. You will be in the hospital a while and then you will be transferred to a rehab facility. At the rehab facility, you will receive intensive therapy and treatment to try and help you deal with the aftermath of the stroke. While you are here, you will be monitored around the clock. Do you hear me and do you understand what I have told you?" To this question, Martin blinked his eyes one time.

Like any normal human being, Martin was devastated when he could think and reason. He seemed to lose time because the clock on the wall seemed to change in an instant. Afternoon would change into night or night into midday without Martin being aware of the time passing hour to hour.

Martin had been living alone in recent years. His wife had passed on several years before. He had no children or surviving relatives. Before his stroke, Martin spent every waking hour working in the tool shed making toys. Like his father and grandfather before him, the toys were dropped off on the porch of the Children's Rescue Mission without anyone ever knowing who made the toys or where the toys were made. For generations, for a period of over ninety years, toys appeared in a cardboard box on the porch of the Mission and no one ever knew the origin or the originator. What the Mission staff did know was the toys had a power to transform lives. Martin's simple wooden toys given to a hurting child had an impact no one could explain. In nearly every case, the child kept the toy and passed on the toy to their children.

Within a few days, Martin was transferred to the local nursing home. Because he had no insurance, he lost his home, he lost all his belongings, and he lost his tool shed. No one knew his heartbreak. No one knew his hopelessness. No one knew about the totality of his loss. No one knew about the loss to the world, for there would be no more toys from his tool shed. In addition, no one knew Martin was a devout believer in Christ.

A week after being admitted to the local nursing home, late at night, Martin had a visitor. The visitor was an incredibly small man. The visitor could not have been much taller than 10 inches tall. The visitor seemed fully alive and was dressed like one of the toy soldiers Martin so often crafted in his tool shed. The little visitor jumped up from the floor to a bedside chair and from the chair jumped up to Martin's bed. Full of incredible joy, the little visitor had the power to read minds and to communicate without talking. The little visitor communicated many things to Martin. The little visitor told Martin about Martin's future. The little visitor gave Martin a window to see the impact of Martin's life on earth. The little visitor gave Martin answers to the fundamental questions all people have about pain and suffering. The little visitor was a man of peace, for Martin began to feel a peace about his life Martin had never felt before. 

These are some of the things the little visitor communicated to Martin.

Martin had led a winning life. Martin had changed the lives of hundreds of children, as adults, those hundreds had changed the lives of hundreds more. There is no easy street in life. When an easy street is found, the street is an illusion. Pain, suffering, and death are the will of Satan. In the end, Satan appears to win by killing us all but in the end, past the end of this life, we who accept Christ are saved, which is why we call Him our Savior. The devastation of the events in our earthly life gets washed away in an instant when we see Christ. We have no memory of our pain, trauma, or devastation when we see Jesus. Terrible events that tear at the soul have no purpose in life other than to tear at the soul. When terrible events happen to us, Christ is grieved and will avenge the event by giving us heavenly rewards when we die. Our purpose in suffering is to glorify God in every way possible. In the darkest hours of our pain, suffering, grief, and loss we are to pray. First we are to pray for others and for God's will to be worked in the lives of others in the world. When we are exhausted from praying for others and praying for the world, we may then pray for ourselves. However, when we pray for ourselves, we are to pray only for strength to keep praying for others and keep praying for the world.

Full of joy and peace, Martin sailed to Heaven within a year of his stroke. No one on the staff at the nursing home knew much about him. No one on earth cared much that Martin went home to be with our Lord. However, Christ knew about him and Christ loved him. In heaven, our Lord built Martin not a mansion but a tool shed. It was a great tool shed. It was magnificent in every imaginable way. His tool shed in heaven was like his tool shed on earth only incredibly more advanced. Above every tool in both of Martin's tool sheds was a small sign that read, "All for Him."

Matthew 6:1-6 "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,     so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (NIV)

This story first appeared in November, 2006, in the Virtual Church web site at http://www.findthepower.com

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Entire contents copyright © 1999 - 2010 by Rev. Patrick Kelly, All rights reserved.
All content is presented on behalf of Shepherd’s Care Ministries. Shepherd's Care Ministries reserves no right or claim upon content.

Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018