On one occasion, I felt impressed to sing some gospel songs. Responding to these songs, a woman bought a CD of gospel songs, which I later found out she played every day for the couple of years until she died.
I discovered this when her husband and son contacted me asking if I could sing at her funeral. I was happy to sing at the funeral, which took place at their church. I became friends with the husband and invited him to my church, where he attended a few times.
I felt impressed to visit him one Mother's Day. The man was feeling particularly lonely and we enjoyed a friendly visit for the day, singing songs and sharing. Many a tear was shed as he told me why his wife had bought my Christian music a few years earlier.
It was a story of heartbreak and hurt but I was also able to see how the Lord had led in my meeting this woman.
Their daughter had discovered her husband was guilty of assaulting young boys. The horror was even more personal when she discovered he had also been abusing their son. When this mother confronted her young son about the assaults he had been a victim of, the boy stabbed his mother and sister in a state of confusion and panic. They both died and the boy was jailed for five years.
The grandparents--whom I had befriended--regularly visited their grandson and lobbied for his release, given the circumstances of the crime.
Music has always been a part of my life and the words to the song, "If I Can Help Somebody," are like the plot to this story, "If I can help somebody as I pass along/ If I can help somebody with a word or song/ If I can show somebody they are travelling wrong/ Then my living will not be in vain."
Both the grandfather and the grandson came to church with me in Newcastle. They came a number of times and enjoyed the church experience. Sometime later, the man was diagnosed with bowel cancer and was operated on. Again I visited him, this time in hospital. Because of his ill health, the family moved the man up the coast to a retirement village. Phone conversations continued the friendship over the next few years.
One day, the call came from the man's son, telling me he had passed away. His father had requested on his deathbed that I speak at his funeral service, and play the songs "The Old Rugged Cross" and "How Great Thou Art" from my CD at his funeral.
Because I had suffered a stroke, I was unable to sing live. I fulfilled the request to speak reluctantly but agreed that if the Lord gave me the strength to walk up to the front of the church with my walker I would do it.
I presented a message of hope from John 14:1-3--that Jesus will come again and receive us to Himself. I used the term "Forever Friend," which has been a constant source of hope for me. I shared the testimony of Revelation 21, which tells of the promises of the New Earth that God has in store for us. I stressed how important the blessed hope is for me.
After the funeral service, many people shared how impressed they were with my first-hand testimony of hope and my understanding of death and resurrection. Among them was a nun who told me how she had been moved by my music. As we chatted, I was able to explain more from the Bible about how my understanding of death was a source of comfort.
On the Resurrection morning, I look forward to again meeting and singing with many people I have had the opportunity of sharing with--including the couple I connected with that day in Toronto.
If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:32.
L Ross Corney is a musician who has travelled extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand, using his vocal talent to introduce people to Jesus. He currently lives in Balmoral, New South Wales.
This story is used with permission from Signs Publishing Company. More of these stories can be found in these collections: Ordinary People—Extraordinary God, Ordinary People—Faithful God, and Ordinary People—Generous God