The Last One Up

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The Last One Up.

“Have you got a broken heart?”  The question, asked in a brusque northern English accent, came from a woman named Edith Glover.  She had been the speaker at the local Anglican Church in Clay Cross, a town in England.

After her talk Edith had prayed for people but now everyone had retired for refreshments.  Seeing her alone I had gone to ask her if she wanted anything.  Her response was - “Have you got a broken heart?”

Good question!  After living in the USA I had returned to England because of the poor health of Dorothy, my wife for the past thirty years. Eventually, after months in hospital, she had passed away.  Being caught off guard by Edith’s question I could only manage to respond, “Yes, I think so”.  

Edith smiled and said, “Good.  When I came into church tonight God said he was going to heal someone’s broken heart.  It must be you as you are the last one up. Sit down”.

She gave this order in a tone that brooked no refusal so I promptly sat down and she prayed. I’ve no idea what words she said, but as she prayed a vivid picture filled my mind.  It was of a simple red heart, the ones you see on Valentine Cards, it was split right down the center and a very fine gold wire was binding the two halve together.

I have never seen Edith since that day, but the memory and the results of her prayer will stay with me forever.  Here is why.

Next Tuesday evening I went to my weekly Bible study. I told them of Edith and of the picture I saw. The study leader was excited and said, “This fits right in with this evenings verses.  These words are surely for you”. He showed me Isaiah 61 and I read –

“… he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted …. to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to           give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness …. that the Lord might be glorified.”

From that moment on I knew I was healed of grief. Over the past months I had learned that mourning is something we do, something we control, but grief is something that comes upon us without the ability to control it. But now, I was healed from grief, I was a whole again.

God had a plan, and restoring me to wholeness was part of that plan.  Not only his plan for me but also for a woman named Sheila.

Sheila’s husband worked for an airline and she had lived overseas for ten years. Unfortunately the marriage ended in divorce and Sheila returned to England.  Seeking God’s direction for her life she decided to go to Bible College. One day, as she walked under the May blossoms, she clearly heard from God.  He said that next year, when the blossoms bloomed again, she would meet her new husband.  Now this was despite the fact that she had no desire to get married again.

When she returned to her hometown of Clay Cross she felt led to go to the local parish church. Strangely so because, being brought up as a Methodist, she had never considered the Anglican Church.  That was when God’s plan began to come together.

Sheila, a woman not looking for a husband and who had committed the rest of her life to serving the Lord, met me for the first time.

I, a man not looking for a wife and who, being made whole and free from grief, had decided to spend the rest of my life serving the Lord, met Sheila for the first time.

The first weekend in May I tentatively asked Sheila out and we went on a days outing to the seaside town of Bridlington.  The sun shone and the May blossoms were in bloom.

It was no surprise to the congregation of our church, when we got married in August of that year.  That was  years ago and since then we have served the Lord as missionaries in Japan, Poland, and the USA.

God is love and when we are bound together with him in love, life can be wondrously fulfilling.  Sheila and I are as much in love today as we were when God miraculously brought us together.  Ecc.4:12 says:

“A three stranded cord is not quickly broken”.

Jesus, Sheila and I are bound together in love, and it all began when I was the last one up.