Friday, June 29, 2018

Al Meets Josh

In the front and to Al’s left, a young man with a cane was guided to the front and sat down by the music stand. The microphone was lowered and the young man held the microphone as he moved his chair closer. “Hello,” he said, “My name is Joshua White, but friends call me Josh. Only my mother calls me Joshua.” The young man smiled as a few folks chuckled.  “And,” he continued, “I’m glad to be here and glad to know that Jesus Christ died for me and now I belong to Him and my Heavenly Father.”

As the young soldier gave his testimony Reverend Williams shouted out, “Amen son, Amen.” Josh continued, “Before I sing I want to say a few things to you folks. First thing is, don’t feel sorry for this guy up here. I’m the luckiest guy around, well I shouldn’t say lucky. I am the most blessed man in the world. You see while I was in combat I lost my eyesight. But the best thing is, today I can see clearer than ever. Now don’t misunderstand me. For a while I was mad and depressed. I hated the world. And then a nurse told me to quit crying and look to God.”

            “The first song I want to sing is a real old hymn, The Old Rugged Cross.” At the name of the hymn Al remembered hearing it when he was just a young kid. His mother used to play old gospel albums during Easter season. As the young man sang, Al began to feel strange. Thinking, “How could this young man, his eyes stolen from him thank God? This just doesn’t make sense. A man is supposed to be angry when his eyes are stolen.”

            Joshua sang two songs and after the second he said, “I’m gonna sing one more song. I wrote this one when I was trying to deal with my blindness. The words have to do with suffering, Jesus’ suffering, to be exact. You see, Jesus suffered for the entire world and every person that will ever live, or has lived. I hope you will listen to the words.”

On the first note from Josh Al’s mind was in the presence of the tear streaked innocent little girl who vanished right in front of him. She seemed so close to Al that he could touch her.  Lost in pain, he only heard Joshua sing that Jesus took our sin and suffering so we could be free of pain. As Joshua ended his song everybody was on their feet clapping for the wounded warrior. Standing with the rest, Al’s vision was blurred with tears as was the vision of many, in that sacred renovated store front.

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