Failure seemed imminent. He focused his eyes on the wall clock. 7:30. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught his wife twisting the edge of her bible with hands gnarled from years of arthritis. Randolph Jordan knew tonight would be his last altar call. He whispered a quick prayer that God would be faithful and give him one more hour of a steady voice and a steady hand.
He was known as the best revival preacher in the North. Randolph had been on fire for the Lord since he was a ten year old boy and the Spirit urged him to join the other hundred bodies packed under the sweltering tent. His life had been spent traveling from one church to another stirring up frenzied sinners until each one gave their life back to God. Cast from a dying breed, he never minced words, nor did he worry about treading on someone’s ego. His fist resounded with each Amen until a chorus of Amens rose from the packed pews. Night after night, he gathered souls for Christ.
Tonight, he knew his best would be fraction of what he used to command. His progressing illness gripped not only his steady hand but also his steady thoughts. His gift of stringing words together for a clear picture was often reduced to jumbling words much like a child’s first attempt at telling a story. His life was preaching. He struggled to understand why God would take his ministry from him and end it. He shook his head slightly and focused his thoughts on the present.
“My dear friends,” he whispered in a voice scarred from years of use. Four hundred eyes found his. “This is the last time I’ll be making this trip to preach on repentance.” A few sniffles punctuated the weighted silence. Randolph gripped the edge of the podium. His wife mouthed something to him but he couldn’t make out her words. He felt a hand lightly touch his shoulder.
“Friends, Pastor Jordan has faithfully served our Lord for over fifty years.” The church’s young pastor steadied his arm around Randolph’s shoulders. “Tonight, would someone here like to share how his ministry has touched your life? Anyone?”
One by one, as if pulled by their own heartstrings, the worshipers rose from their wooden pews.
“I’m a missionary today in the Philippines because of a sermon you preached when I was fourteen.” A young man in the back row clasped the hand of his wife.
Another man stood and removed his glasses. “My daughter just married a godly man she met here. We gave our lives to the Lord years ago at one of your first visits.”
“My mother died in peace last week knowing the Lord is her Savior because she gave her life to him ten years before.” A voice from the third pew chirped out.
A child rose and stepped into the center aisle. “I told my school teacher that you would be preaching tonight and she is here beside us.” He smiled at the woman sitting with his parents.
Five family members stood as one in the far right corner. “Pastor Jordan,” the father began, “we lost a son five years ago and left church determined to never return because of what we felt God did to our lives.” He steadied his voice. “Our persistent pastor begged us to come hear just one of your messages.” He searched for his handkerchief and blew his nose. “We found the peace we so desperately needed that night. Thank you.”
Randolph fought to hold back his own tears but illness and brokenness would not allow it. He searched the wall clock again. 8:30.
“Amen!” he pounded the pulpit, praising God for yet one more revival. His own.
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