A Revival Funeral
When I was a student in college I heard Dr. John R. Rice tell the story of being invited to preach a revival meeting for a godly pastor. For several months the pastor and Dr. Rice corresponded about a date that would work out for these meetings in both of their schedules. Finally a week was agreed upon and the next Sunday at the close of the service, the Pastor announced the date of the meetings to his people.
As he did so, one of the men in the church stood to his feet and began walking down the center aisle. He pointed his finger at the pastor and said: “Over my dead body we’ll have Rice in this church!” The pastor was shocked that there was opposition and not really knowing what to do or say, he simply closed the service in prayer. Months passed and the pastor said nothing more to the congregation about the revival meeting, but behind the scenes planned the meetings as normal. He never told Dr. Rice what happened.
The meetings were to start on Monday night, and Dr. Rice told how he arrived at the church that morning about eleven o’clock. When he got to the church he was surprised to find every parking space filled and the church crammed to overflowing. He parked about two blocks away and entered the front door only to find people standing in the lobby looking through some glass windows into the packed auditorium. It was the funeral service for that deacon!
As Dr. Rice looked toward the front of the church, he saw a huge white banner stretched from one side to the other with large red letters printed on it which read: WELCOME DR. JOHN R. RICE. Underneath that banner was a casket and the deacons head rested on the pillow in that coffin directly under the word “RICE” on the banner. His words had become prophetic in his own mouth: “Over my dead body, we’ll have Rice in this church.”—Always Rejoicing, Dr. John Goetsch