Today's post is quite different from my regular devotions. In fact, it's not a devotion at all but rather a challenge to each and every one of us. I would like to tell you about one of my heroes of the faith. This sweet lady has been like a second mother to me for the majority of my life. She has been my teacher, my mentor, and my friend. She and her husband have spent their lives serving the Lord through preaching, teaching, singing, playing the piano, hosting ladies' meetings and so much more. And for the past few years, this precious hero of the faith has been battling cancer.
The lady's name is Shirley Hughes, and if she knew I was writing this post, she'd probably have my hide. But I felt this story needed to be told, for Mrs. Hughes has been an inspiration to so many. Despite the cancer that eats at her body and destroys her health, she is happy, positive and always glorifying the Lord. That testimony alone brings shame to me when I think about how often I allow little aches and pains to steal my joy and gratitude. What I face on a daily basis is nothing compared to what she faces, and if she can continue to rejoice, then I should too.
But here's what really convicts my heart. Over the past several months, Mrs. Hughes has had one request to God. One would think that prayer would be for healing, but that's not what she has asked for. No, her prayer has been that God would allow her to live long enough to finish writing out the entire Bible. Yes, this dear lady has taken the time to write out the Bible—chapter by chapter, book by book. And some books she has written multiple times. But what touches my heart is that she did not want to leave this earth until she had finished that task which, if all went to plan, she completed in October.
When I think of this, I'm reminded of Solomon. When the Lord came to Solomon and told him he could ask for anything he wanted, Solomon displayed great character by praying for wisdom to guide his nation well. He didn't ask for money or fame, health or peace. He could have asked for anything, but he chose wisdom. As a reward for his good sense, God gave him what he asked for and many, many things he didn't ask for, including health and wealth and peace. In my mind, Mrs. Hughes did the same thing. She didn't pray for health or wealth. She asked for the time and strength to finish the work she was doing for the Lord, and I have to believe God will honor her for such an incredible display of spiritual wisdom.
Mrs. Hughes' latest test results are not good. Her numbers are up, and the cancer is continuing to spread. The doctors are suggesting another method of chemotherapy in the hope of sustaining her life. I cannot imagine how much this couple has been through, and my heart is overwhelmed at how strong they have remained through it all. So, this post today is both a challenge and a plea.
First off, I challenge each of us to be more like Mrs. Hughes. To stay positive in the face of adversity. To put God's goals and plans above our own. To keep our eyes on the Savior and walk in step with Him. Second, I ask each of you to please keep Shirley Hughes and her family in your prayers. God is the Great Physician, and if He so chooses, He can heal this dear lady. I know she is ready to go Home in the sense that she knows the Lord, but we're not ready to lose her. Will you help me pray?
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. - III John 1:2