Singing Before You Die
My 8 year old granddaughter saw a picture of a young man with dark brown hair and a pleasant smile. Grace said, “Who is that, Meme?” My wife answered, “That is your Grandy” (Grandy is Grace’s name for me). “Woo—Wee” she exclaimed; “He sure is handsome. But– not so much anymore. What Happened?” After Mary stopped laughing, she said; “Honey, his hair vanished, and he grew a belly.” And, I thought wives were supposed to be helpful!
Sometimes we ask “What happened?” Life is cruel to us at times. One of those things that happen is a medical procedure. Mary is recovering from surgery on her toes. She was frustrated because she could not do things, that she saw needed to done; and I was not getting them done right. I had really tried to help. It just wasn’t working out. After I helped her to bed on Monday night, I enjoyed the late night talk shows, and I hit upon The Arsenio Hall Show. I was fascinated with my need to watch a T.V. show I had never watched at all.
Arsenio talked about a little boy singing before he was about to die. The 9 year old boy was Willie Myers. The big city newspapers had featured his story. Willie was in his own back yard playing with his dog. A man abducted Willie from his yard. The man drove Willie around for three hours trying to decide what he was going to do to Willie; and what to do with Willie’s body. Willie knew that he was going to die, but Willie was not quiet. He sang!
Willie sang for three hours. He sang over and over a song entitled “Every Praise” that he learned in church. He liked best the refrain that he sang over and over, with feeling: “GOD IS MY SAVIOR….. GOD IS MY HERO….GOD IS MY DELIVER… —-GOD IS MY SAVIOR, YES..HE IS….YES HE IS..; GOD IS MY HERO …YES HE IS…YES HE IS. GOD IS MY DELIVERER, YES HE IS, YES HE IS.” Imagine a nine year old black boy singing his faith, with feeling and rhythm. He knew he would be tortured and killed. Yet he sang: “God is my Deliver….Yes he is! Yes He is!”
Arsenio asked Willie why did he sang that song, when he could have sang anything, even “God Bless America”? Willie said, “I knew Jesus was going to be with me. Jesus would take me with Him to be with him.” Willie was different, and he transformed others.
The next morning, I went to Methodist Men’s Breakfast; Arsenio show about Willie, was still in my mind. Then, discovered I had the program that morning. So, I shared Willie’s story. And it transformed several men who told me they were moved by the program. Later that morning, I met a stranger in a book store, and he asked causally, “What have you been doing? So I dared to tell him of my watching T.V., and the story of Willie. He asked more questions. And the stranger started crying as I told Willie’s story. He was crying, right there in the store, with huge tears rolling down. And his wife standing by him said, “I’m listening hon.” He wiped tears away. And said, simply, “That really touched me. That really blessed me. I am a truck driver, and I will be thinking about what you said on my runs.”
So Willie transformed a murder– the Abductor who let him go free. He transformed me watching late night watching T.V. And, his story blessed a group of Methodist Men. Then my telling Willie’s story, blessed a truck driver named Jim.
If you sing before you die, you sing because God has changed you. Your influence is the way you handle difficulties and problems. You bless a lot of other people!
“None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord. If we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s…..Jesus lived and died that he might be Lord both of the living and the dead.” (Romans 14:7-9)
We sing because God is with us! What was that song you were just singing?