Winston's Last Gift
WINSTON'S LAST GIFT
We were late for church as usual. It was only five minutes, however, the only seats available were on the second row. We waited until the congregation stood up to sing to go to our seats. We stood singing behind Winston Hamby and his wife. Winston has been sick for some time and is physically weak and frail. He carries an oxygen bottle with him to church, however he always has the strength to raise his hands toward the Lord in praise. I have always been somewhat hesitant to show my praise to the Lord by raising my hands. It just never felt quite right, however, Winston raising his weakened hands has always inspired me spiritually. He was standing with his struggling shaking hand toward the Lord and I noticed his knees buckle beneath him. In an instant I found myself standing next to him holding him up. We stood there with my arm around his waist supporting him and him with his arm around my waist and his hand in my belt loop for something to hang on to. His other hand was stretched up high praising the Lord. I just then realized I was not holding him up but he was holding me up! It was as if his raised hand was "our" hand. Tears started running down my face and he held on to me tighter. I have been in a spiritual desert for several months now and Winston was an oasis in that desert that I ran to as a dying thirsty man runs to a well for water. I realized that through Winston I was being given the living water that Jesus spoke of to the woman at the well.
After the song ended he hugged me and said, "Thank you for blessing me. I haven't been blessed like that in a long time", and kissed me on the cheek as long lost brother would. It was not until the closing prayer when again he struggled to stand up that I was at his side again. As the prayer was being said, our heads bowed and our arms around each others waists, he kept saying softly, "Don't worry, He has risen.....he has risen!" "Agape.....agape" which of course is Greek for love, brotherly unconditional love. Tears again started streaming down my face again as I struggled to hold on to the empty chair in front of me but felt Winston's spiritual strength supporting me.
When the prayer ended I turned to him and said "I thought I was helping to hold you up but you were holding me up spiritually." He said "Yes WE were."
I just thank God that he placed Winston Hamby in my life at that moment. I did not realize how thirsty and spiritually dehydrated I was in my spiritual desert and this morning in church I drank my fill.
(Winston Hamby passed away this past Saturday February 25th. I feel very fortunate to have been the recipient of Winston's last gift)