Everything hit Ruth Clevenger at once when she was 74. She lost both her husband and son in that year. Seven months after her son died, she suffered a stroke. After recovering from the stroke, she fell and hurt her hip.
One day she tuned in to a local Christian television program where counselors took prayer requests over the telephone. Ruth called in and asked for prayer concerning her hip.
As she listened to that program that day and subsequent days, she heard people testify to how the Lord had saved them and transformed their lives. She heard the old gospel story, that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, that God had sent His Son to die for sinners, and that a person had to receive Jesus Christ as Savior in order to be forgiven and have eternal life.
Ruth had always thought she was a good Christian. Her father had been an evangelist, the pastor of a church. She had always tried to live a good life. And twelve years before this she had gone forward during a revival. But as she listened to those testimonies, she realized that she didn’t have what those people had.
On the third day after calling in for prayer. Ruth suddenly realized her hip was feeling much better. When she sat down to eat her supper, she bowed her head humbly and said, “Lord, I’ve seen and heard so much that I know you are alive! Forgive my sins. I want Jesus to come into my heart. Just take me as I am!”
Ruth becomes a new person
Joy filled her heart! Getting out some hymn books, she started singing every old gospel song – and they all had new meaning for her. She knew she was a new person in Christ. She started telling neighbors and others about how the Lord had saved and healed her.
While talking to one backslidden neighbor about the Lord, she encouraged her to look at the Christian television program. The neighbor tuned in and rededicated her life to Christ.
Every night after that Ruth would pray and say, “I know there’s something more I can do for you, Lord, and want you to show me.”
Ruth called to service
One night as Ruth watched her favorite Christian television minister said, “You know, people get saved, and then they just go home and sit down. Everyone has a talent, and some people have several. They ought to be using their talents for the Lord.”
“Amen, Lord!” Ruth exclaimed. “Open the door!”
The next day Ruth visited her daughter, Nelia, a nurse. “Mother,” Nelia said, “the nursing home where I work would like you to start coming in to do some volunteer work with the patients. Would you like to do that?”
“Praise the Lord!” Ruth exclaimed. “God has answered my prayers!”
Ruth started going to the home several times a week. Another volunteer began picking her up before breakfast, so that she could eat with the patients and spend all morning visiting with them.
Besides sharing with the patients how the Lord had saved and healed her, she soon found other ways to help and brighten their days. She found joy in playing ‘”by ear” for them old favorite hymns on the piano, and the patients found joy in joining her in singing. They also liked her to play and sing while they ate lunch. “We can eat better and enjoy our food more,” many have told Ruth.
She has brightened the days of many by talking with them, reading the Bible and newspaper to them and comforting and praying with them.
“I have shared with most of them about my salvation experience,” she told me, “so that if they are like I was, thinking they are Christians and yet they are not, they might realize they need to receive Christ and know Him personally, too. I pray daily for them.”
One woman Ruth visited with was operated on for a tumor of the brain. She was very depressed and couldn’t sleep at night. When Ruth visited with her a second time in her room, she said, “You know, I slept so good last night. I feel so much better since talking to you!”
Ruth’s doctor, who also treated the patients at the nursing home, said to her, “I can tell a big difference in you, Mrs. Clevenger, since you started doing this volunteer work. And I can see a difference in my patients at the nursing home, too!”