As the morning teacher at a SW SALT in the early ’90s, I had finished my part, and stayed over to hear Donnie, the climax night speaker. We had gotten acquainted in his early days in campus ministry.
I sat in the back, enjoyed his opening comments, then got lost in my own thoughts. Two of my older sisters had died with cancer at the age I was now entering, and it got to me. I had been giving up on long-term planning, and expected to find “the lump” just about any day. Normally I’m a happy guy, but I had just gone through a Christmas, hanging back at the edge of the party, pretty much saying a private good-bye to everyone, thinking this might be my last.
So now I looked around at this fine SALT conference, thought about a couple thousand students in one like it over the holiday, and gave thanks. I had had a hand in designing the SALT idea, and was filled with appreciation for all I had gotten to see God do. I know well the Pennsylvania potato patch from which God had called me, and I thought how much better life had been than my best dreams for it, so said, “God, if this is it, I will go with a grin! You have been so good to me!”
And then Donnie stopped, in the middle of his thought, and called my name: “Dave Gable! God just told me to tell you there is more before you than behind you!” and went back to his sermon!
I was stunned. I had never been called out in such a way, and now, THIS! No one knew my angst over this issue, and no one could have known how apt was this word, both in meaning, and timing.
All I can say was that the fruit of that word (always the test!) was wonderful. It was like I walked out from under a shadow, into God’s bright light of sun. No more gloom, or preoccupation with death. I dance at every birthday! (badly, but I dance!) And I have done and seen enough since so that if I go tomorrow, the word will have been true.
May God raise up others to hear and declare good words like these!