During the Civil War, late at night, a stranger came to the home of the famous preacher, Henry Ward Beecher. Mrs. Beecher heard the knock and went to see who was there. Opening the door slightly she found a tall stranger covered in wraps up to his eyes trying to protect himself against the cold weather. He asked to see Pastor Beecher but refused to give his name.
Pastor Beecher’s life had been threatened many times during those days, so Mrs. Beecher closed the door and returned to their upstairs room. The stranger was left standing outside in the cold.
When Beecher learned that someone was at his door, standing alone outside, he quickly went downstairs and welcomed the stranger into his home. Sometime later Beecher returned to his wife upstairs. She learned that the man who came to their home to see her husband but who wouldn’t give his name was none other than the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. He was facing a crisis and had come to Pastor Beecher for prayer.
At this time of celebrating our country’s national freedom on the Fourth of July, this story has some great points. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our leaders, not only from the White House, but from Congress and the Supreme Court of the United States would realize the crisis we are in and seek counsel and prayer from Godly men and women throughout the nation? We are living in critical times in America and throughout the world and our real help must come for the One mentioned in our Pledge of Allegiance. We are “one nation under God.” We have too long forgotten this. Prayer is not a sign of weakness but of wisdom and recognition that things have gotten beyond our control.
The promise of II Chronicles 7:14 still relates to us today: “If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Today’s times may be cold and harsh, like the winter night at Beecher’s home. But this must not keep us from seeking help beyond ourselves.
Do you know who may be knocking at the door? The stranger may at first be unrecognizable, even unknown. The circumstances may seem accidental but they are really Divinely planned. Are we the kind of persons who will draw others to seek us out when they need help? We must prepare ourselves for this unbelievable opportunity! Listen to words from Matthew 25, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to you? And the King will answer and say to them, Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to Me.”
May many around us overwhelmed by the growing crisis know they can knock on our door and find a special welcome, a listening ear, and prayer that specifically seeks God’s answer and direction. And may we know there are others around us that we can go to in critical moments and find uplift and help no matter the cost.
Till next time,
Don Johnson, KP Chaplain