Monday, November 2, 2009


I became acquainted once again with a man this week in Anna, Illinois, by the name of Wardell Barnhart. Wardell has worshiped with his wife at the Anna congregation for many years. When I came to Anna for a gospel meeting in March of 2001, they were here and I remember that they attended every service. At that particular time, Mr. Barnhart was not a member of the Lord's church.

As we started another meeting this past Sunday morning, I arrived at the building thirty minutes early to meet and greet whomever might be there. Wardell was the only one present for a good while. It is his custom to be there early and open up the building. We had time to talk for a while. He told me that his wife had suddenly passed away a few years ago. He was going to have knee surgery the morning she left him. He woke up to find that she had simply faded away in her sleep.

You might imagine that Wardell Barnhart would be sad and lonely. But I saw a much different picture. Though he dearly misses his wife, he is a different man today. He put on his Lord in baptism before she died. He told me he had been one of "the long-time stubborn ones." But from the time he became a Christian everything with him changed.

The man I talked to in the foyer of the church building is a happy man. He is very faithful and greets everyone with a kind smile when they come into the church building. He is nice to visitors and good with conversation. He made a remark about one of my sermon topics on the flier - "Remember Thy Creator When You are All Alone." He told me that made no sense. He said, chuckling, "You are never alone, because God is always with you."

What makes a man, now a widower after fifty plus years of marriage live with so much hope? What makes him so kind and gentle and full of life? It is the fact that he lifted a burden that remained on his heart and in his life for decades. He became a Christian, and now he makes his coffee and breakfast every morning in his humble home in the presence of a special guest. There is no doubt in his mind that God is there with Him. And let me tell you, Wardell Barnhart lives in such a way, that you cannot deny God's presence in his life. You can just tell.

"Burdens are liften at Calvary, Jesus is very near." ~ John Moore (1952)

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