Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Eighteen years ago, Dorothy Holm died after having fought a fairly long battle with cancer.
Toward the end, Holm was no longer able to speak. Instead, she tried to communicate with those around her by writing on index cards. One after another of those cards was filled with Holm's writings. Some thought the cards carried a message; others thought they were just meanderings. This is the type of thing which she wrote: "OFWAIHHBTNTKCTWBDOEAIIIH"
Well, Holm passed away, and she left a pile of those note cards to her children and grandchildren.
About a month ago, one of Holm's granddaughters posted a picture of one of the cards on the Internet. In less than 13 minutes some computer wizards managed to break the code. The family was told Holm hadn't been talking to them at all. She had been praying to the Triune God, to her Creator, her Redeemer, to the Holy Spirit who had called, and kept her in the faith.
Only now does the family know, when Holm wrote, "OFWAIHHBTNTKCTWBDOEAIIIH," she was saying, "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
Everyone who has heard Holm's story must admit she is unique in her method of communication. That does not mean she is unique in what she shared.
Most ministers can tell you of times when they have gone to a home, hospital or hospice to visit someone whose time on this earth could be measured in days or hours. These folks may be unresponsive to everything around them, but when the pastor begins to pray, "Our Father who art in heaven ...." their lips begin to move with him. When he says, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want," their faces take on a peaceful expression.
At that moment, pastors and family know they are seeing the results of some faithful work done many years before. Some parents, some pastors, some teachers acquainted our loved ones with the story of salvation, which is theirs in Jesus. More than making an introduction, those representatives of the Savior made sure God's love and Scripture became part and parcel of our dear ones.
That way, when all else was gone, when their days were over, that which was most important -- their faith in the Savior - remained, and provided comfort.
By the Holy Spirit's power may future pastors and families reap the benefits of the work we are doing for the Savior in the hearts of our children and grandchildren.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You have entrusted young souls to our family and to our church. May we make good use of the time given to us. May we teach; may they learn, and may faith in the Savior stay with them all the days of their lives. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries