Running Strong and Fast
At eight Doug told his dad he was now too big for hugs, and his dad honored his son’s request for ten years. Then he dropped him off in Lubbock. It’s not the end of the world, but West Texas can feel like it. They were in a dorm room at Texas Tech. It was time to leave. They stood and his dad wrapped his arms around his oldest son and told him he loved him.
Doug’s dad openly expressed his love, but he also had always kept his word. But there was one promise Doug had doubts about. “Doug, before I was eleven I was fast, really fast, and you’re going to see me run again.” His dad was Dr. Stan Toussaint, my Bible professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and later, a colleague on the faculty. Polio had struck the strong, fast eleven-year-old hard and left him with a serious, lifelong limp.
At Dr. Toussaint’s memorial service, Doug honored his dad sharing memories and then concluded his remarks like this:
“After losing my dad, it was tough to sleep. But in the midst of the tossing and turning I had one of those vivid dreams. I was in the woods looking out at a well-manicured baseball diamond. Two young men were on one of the base paths talking. They were muscular and strong and when they walked toward me, they didn’t see me, but I saw them. The shorter one was clearly my dad, only no gray hair. He was young, muscular, and walking straight and smooth. The taller man still had that winsome voice, but no longer the trademark crooked smile. I knew instantly the man was my dad’s colleague and friend who had passed away July 22nd after a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s. It was Haddon Robinson, the preacher’s preacher. My dad turned to Haddon and said, ‘Want to race?’”
Now I know that the Apostle Paul clearly told us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord for those who have believed the Gospel, but will they run?
On the island of Malta on his way to deliver the Gospel to Nero, the Emperor in Rome, Paul prayed and then touched the ruler of the island’s father who was seriously ill. How does his apostolic healing power give us a glimpse of the Kingdom to come?
“Now close by there was an estate that belonged to the chief official of the island whose name was Publius. He welcomed us, received us warmly and treated us as his personal guests for three days. Now his father became feverish and sick with dysentery and had to lie down. Paul went into him and prayed. Then he placed his hands on him and healed him. When this happened, the rest of the people on the island having illnesses also came and they too were healed. They honored us with many gifts; and when we sailed, they put on board what we needed.” Acts 28:7-10
This episode on Malta gives us a glimpse of how God will destroy all disease when His will is done on earth as it is in heaven, a time when Isaiah’s promise will be fulfilled “they shall run and not be weary” (Isaiah 40:31).
Doug hesitated and then concluded his dream story, “My dad took off. I saw him run.”
LORD, thanks that this is more than a dream. Based on your promise I can know and Doug can know that Stan and Haddon are in your presence in heaven, healthy and strong forever. And it’s all because of the Gospel of grace Paul gave his life to tell us.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!