My friend, Tammie, is one of the most giving individuals that I know. Three years ago, she heard about an elderly gentleman that needed too much care to live alone, but didn’t want to go into assisted living. He was the friend of a friend, and Tammie felt that attending for this man was something the Lord was leading her to do. “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:” Matthew 25:35
After clearing it with her husband, Chuck moved in with them. From the start, there were problems. Chuck’s speech was peppered with profanity and blasphemy. She calmly explained to Chuck that the kind of language he was using wasn’t allowed in their home. There wasn’t a change overnight, but gradually Chuck started apologizing after his outbursts. Then one day Tammie realized it had been a while since she had heard him curse.
Chuck had suffered terribly in his life. He had been seriously injured in the Vietnam War, and untold terrors dogged his sleep from post traumatic stress disorder. Screaming out in terror during the night and even during daytime naps was a normal occurrence, but Tammie learned by trial and error what worked best to make it easier for Chuck to recover from them. One way that helped with this problem was to avoid violent or disturbing TV shows. That ruled out most of the evening news. This didn’t eliminate the problem, but helped to lessen the effects.
Tammie makes a habit of reading from Psalms every morning, and Chuck took notice of this. One morning she had neglected her quiet time and Chuck reminded her, “Aren’t you going to read something?” Then he started joining in with her morning devotions. The first chapter she read to him was Psalms 37. He started asking questions, wanting to learn more about her God (Chuck was a worshiper of Buddha). One day during a discussion about spiritual matters he told her that he didn’t have a soul. Tammie explained to him that everyone has a soul. She reminded him that he knew how to show love to others, and that proved it. He asked her how she knew God existed, and she took him outside where there was a breeze blowing. She explained that the wind cannot be seen, its effects could only be felt, and that faith is what gives us the assurance that the wind exists. She told Chuck that it’s the same way with God. There is evidence everywhere of His existence, and faith is believing in that existence as fact.
He then said, “But I don’t know how to pray.” Sensing that Chuck’s wall of defense against all things Christian was starting to crumble, she explained that praying to God was just like a dialogue with a friend. She took his hand and prayed a simple prayer to demonstrate. She explained that there is no right or wrong way to commune with our Heavenly Father; and that one only had to ask for forgiveness to be assured of eternity in Heaven. After this discourse, she began to see a change in Chuck’s demeanor. At dinner, he made sure no one started eating before Tammie had a chance to say the blessing. Then one day he confided that he prayed to God every night. It was then that she realized Chuck no longer suffered from nightmares. Restful sleep was restored to him, after enduring a lifetime of flashbacks from his wartime service.
Chuck’s birthday was coming up, and Tammie asked him what he wanted for his gift. His answer was a Bible. She got him an easy-to-understand version and had his name engraved on it as a tangible connection to the true God that he now worshiped.
A few weeks ago, Chuck became seriously ill and passed away after a short hospital stay. Chuck is now in the presence of the Lord that he didn’t believe in three years ago, all because someone cared about what happened to that one soul.