Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

October 16, 2016


Got time to hear a good story?


        I love a good story. I love to tell a good story. My best sermons include good stories. My “almost really good” sermons, my wife tells me, are the ones that “needed a good story.”

Old people repeat stories. Younger people laugh at them for doing that. When I get old I hope my family will gently remind me not to tell the same story over and over.

There are, however, good stories that are worth repeating. So I reckon the secret is to tell such stories no more than once a year. That is my goal. I don’t want to lose my best stories; in every audience there are a few dear souls who have not heard my treasured stories.

Truly good stories touch the heart. They stir the soul. And they remind us of our own breathtaking, and heartbreaking, real life experiences. A good story prompts us to think, “Yes, I know how that feels.”

Recalling beautiful moments can often rescue us from despair and help us face the latest heartache with courage. When misery hovers near it helps to remember that “this too shall pass.” A little fortitude, mixed with the grace of God, can help us find a way through the dark cloud of the moment. Flying has taught me that there is often brilliant sunshine just above the darkest cloud.

        Beautiful moments often occur during painful experiences. If we cherish them and store them in our hearts, they can help us when trouble comes, as it surely will. So at the risk of sharing stories you may have already heard me tell, allow me to share two beautiful moments in my life.  

Some years ago my wife was critically ill in a Pensacola hospital. I was deeply troubled. Her doctor was worried and not sure what to do next. The needs of our four small boys kept me from being where I wanted to be, by her side. A week after being hospitalized, Dean was still very sick.

        On the eighth day things changed. As I walked into her hospital room she greeted me with a beautiful smile and said quietly, “I am well. The doctor said I can go home today.” I was stunned. The day before she was so sick her life seemed to hang in the balance. How could this be?

        She took my hand and explained. “Yesterday afternoon I felt terrible. It was hot and stuffy in the room. My nurse opened the window and soon I felt a gentle breeze. Suddenly I felt a Presence in the room and in my mind I heard a voice say, ‘you are well, my child.’ Then I realized I felt well. I did not feel sick anymore. I knew I was well.” And she was!

        Explain that any way you wish. I have never tried to analyze it; I just said “Thank you, Lord.” That is enough for me.

        Remembering that moment energizes my faith when hard times come around again. If it happened once, through no merit of my own, it could happen again. And frankly I have not been shy about asking the Lord to do it again.  He is able, you know. This is his world and he is in charge.

        The other beautiful moment happened almost 50 years ago but it is still fresh in my mind. About three o’clock one afternoon I told my wife and our sons I would be back before midnight. I had a speaking engagement in a town about a hundred miles away. As I started out the door our youngest son, Steve, asked if he could go with me. “Sure, son,” I said, “Come on.”

        As we made our way down the highway I turned the car radio on. Steve reached up and turned it off. Then he moved a little closer to me on the front seat and said, “Dad, why don’t we just talk?” I said, “Son that is a great idea; let’s do that.”

        We talked for a long time. Then, after a bit of silence, he said, “Dad, we like being together, don’t we?” It was an electric moment. I don’t remember my reply but those words were forever etched in my mind that afternoon. That remains one of the most beautiful moments of my life.

        When life is tough, remember beautiful moments and weave them into a good story. Good stories can help people find the courage to face the worst of times.

Some stories are so good they are worth repeating – again and again. Cherish golden moments in your life. Weave them into stories. Share them, more than once, with the people you love. In so doing your little life may be dignified by the joy of helping some hurting person make it through the night. + + +