I’m Sicilian. That means if the phone rings late in the evening, I don’t think that someone from the west coast is trying to call me; but rather, I think “What’s wrong?” As my son has gotten older and is the proud owner of an iPhone, I have had to get used to hearing from him via text and receiving those messages during the “school day”. When he was young, any communication from him or the school brought the immediate question, “What’s wrong?!?!” Now that my son is in his senior year of High School, our relationship has taken a small shift. As he has grown into manhood, my role is less parental and shifted toward guiding him as he begins to make his own decisions. A fun side effect of this relational shift is that we text one another with light-hearted one liners that are filled with our own personal history. I delight in those text exchanges. However, yesterday at 11:03 am, I received a text with just a linc. Embedded in the linc address I saw the extension “prayfordavid”. That was a real “What’s wrong” moment.
The linc took me to Long Hollow Baptist church’s website where I read the news release. A woman of words sat in stunned silence. My Pastor, David Landrith, has been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. It is in stage one, but that was no comfort to me. Though I was at work, I found myself proudly moved and deeply emotional. The first thing I did was to text one of my dearest friends, who is not only a coworker, but also attends Long Hollow. Moments later she too was sitting in my cube, and we shed silent tears in shock and disbelief. Being a modern day social media consumer, I went directly to my Pastor’s Facebook page. As expected, it was quickly filling up with commitments of prayer and out a tremendous out pouring of love for him and his family. I sat there reading; internally I was begging God to show me that this couldn’t be real. On my own Facebook page, articles were popping up reporting the news. Whether I wanted to or not, I had to accept that this was real. That’s when I turned to the only thing I know to do in situations such as this, I “commenced to prayin”!
There is nothing more comforting than having the One that loves you the most, always ready for you to turn to with your broken heart. As I sat there in shock, I poured my broken heart to the Lord. I confess, I could hardly concentrate on my work; but, I could continue my inward conversation with God. Oh what comfort it is that He has no office hours, cubicle boundaries, and I never have to leave a short message with my name and a brief description of need. He is always there.
As I prayed, I could see Heaven the way Isaiah described it in Isaiah 6 “1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.” As I reveled in that incredible image, I had no fear. How could anything but solid confidence come out of a place so filled with God and His holiness? There was God confidently on His throne! Nowhere in that image was an angel wringing their hands, pacing tightly hunched over, going back and forth across Heavens floor. As I have shared in other writings, God knew this was to be from the beginning of time, and He has allowed this to come to pass. Remember, Job was a righteous man and God allowed his sorrows. Also, in the end Job was restored!
Our Pastor and his family have a long road ahead, but I know that they will take each step with humility and grace. Fear will be met with prayer, blessings with thanksgiving; and if I know Brother David, many sermon points born out of his experience.
Today, as I was having my coffee, I went to Brother David’s Facebook page and found this post: “My heart hasn't been this heavy in a long time. Bro. David has been my pastor for the last 14 yrs. He has carved a very special place in my heart, but I think I've done something he's told us NEVER to do. I've put him on a pedestal of sorts. He tells us to look only to Jesus for our standard of living, not humans. I think, in my mind, he has achieved superhero status. So, I'm in disbelief that he has cancer. I'm proud to be a part of Long Hollow Baptist Church and what it stands for, thanks to his leadership. The biblical principles that our church operates under have grown my faith, discipled my children, and saved my marriage, just to name a few. Please join me in praying for this tremendous man of God.”
While I believe that Brother David would not ask to go down this road; however, he is getting to see a portion of the legacy his life and ministry has touched. It will be my prayer that as this outpouring of love continues to blanket our beloved Pastor, that he and his family are comforted by learning just how much the sacrifice of being a Christ follower has changed lives one by one. Brother David, we are “Wrecked” for you, and will continue to follow the beacon of light you have pointed on our community, and the world.