By Rick Hamlin
This week I was planning to spend with my friends John and Tibby Sherrill at the Guideposts Writers Workshop. Longtime writers with dozens of bestsellers to their name such as The Cross and the Switchblade or The Hiding Place, they’re wonderful teachers and every time I hear them speak I learn something new.
This, week, alas, John is in the hospital recovering from open-heart surgery and Tibby is at his side. I just called her. The surgery was successful but the recovery has been rocky and John is still in the ICU.
“Have you been able to pray?” I asked Tibby.
“Yes,” she said, “but I’ll admit my prayers have been very selfish. I’m so afraid of what might happen I can only pray for me.”
I knew exactly how she was feeling. Sitting in a hospital room, the beeping of various machine interrupting any attempt at quiet and calm, nurses and techs coming and going, the fears for a loved one vanquishing all efforts at easy prayer. Not too long ago, when I was getting prepped for open-heart surgery and in a fit of nerves, guess who called me in my hospital room? John and Tibby Sherrill and the two of them prayed for me right on the phone.
“Let me pray for you,” I said. It was my turn.
“That would be good,” she said, “because I’m finding this very hard.”
I hung up and asked God to fill them both with the faith and love they have shared with millions of readers, with family, with fledging writers, with people like me. Friends pray for each other through hard times. It’s the way we can get them through. Sometimes it’s all that gets us through.
This friendship prayer is for you, Tibby, you and John. With much love.