October 25, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Confidence

Brother-Aaron-236x300His name was Karon Prestridge. He was a parishioner of mine when I served as pastor of Stovall Baptist Church in the 1980’s.

I had the privilege of leading him to personal faith in Jesus Christ and I quickly learned to love him!

Not long afterwards, Karon, or “K” as I often called him, was diagnosed with cancer. He was told that it was terminal and was referred to hospice care.

Now keep in mind that in the 1980’s hospice care was still brand new to LaGrange, Georgia. In fact, it was so brand new that Karon was just the second patient ever enrolled in the program. At that time we did not have the nice hospice house that we have now.  Hospice care was provided either in the hospital or at home.

When the reality of his situation settled in on him, I remember him looking up at me and saying, “Preacher, you know I love you.” I replied, “Yes K; I know.”  He continued, “And I only have one request of you.”

“What’s that?” I asked. He said, “I want you with me when I die.” To which I replied, “K, I promise you that if there is any way possible, I’ll be with you.” I then made the appropriate people aware of his request.

They wrote on all of his medical charts, “It is the request of this patient that Rev. McCollough is with him when he dies. Therefore, regardless of the procedure or level of care being given, never ask Rev. McCollough to leave.” They honored his request. They would make his family leave, but never me. And, oh my, trust me when I tell you that there were times I wished they would have asked me to leave!

I distinctly remember when they used a needle that looked three feet long to pull fluid off his lungs. He looked up at me with sweat as big as nickels on his forehead and said, “This is rough, preacher!” I exclaimed, “I know, K! It’s killing me!”

And I don’t guess I’ll never forget standing by his bedside when the angels came and took him home. With tears streaming down my face I leaned over and softly whispered, “K, I was here. I did what you asked and what I promised to do!”

Why am I telling you this story today? One word: Confidence. Because of his love for me, K had given me an assignment and had confidence that I would see it through to the very end. Trust me when I tell you that throughout the course of my ministry people have placed their confidence in me and I have failed miserably. There are many things that I will give an account for when I stand before God.

Perhaps that surprises you to hear me say that. Maybe you’re thinking, “But you’re a preacher!” Yes I am. However, I am also a sinner and blood – not righteousness – flows through my veins. I often miss the mark. However, on this occasion, I got it right. I did what I promised. I saw K through the dying process – and I’ll never regret it!

I wonder who it is in your life today who asked and you have agreed to walk with them to the very end of their life situation. It could be your spouse, your children, your parents, your siblings, or a friend. The important thing is not who you promised. What’s important is that you promised and they have confidence in you to see your promise through to the very end.

Sometimes in life our confidence waivers and we want to quit. We want to pull the ripcord on our promise. We want out of the situation. When this happens, we just need to put our big boy or big girl britches on, remember that the Jesus in us is big enough to see us through, and honor the commitment we made and the confidence that was placed in us. We’ll never regret it!

Brother Aaron   

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