A few years ago, I received a Christmas email from our friend Howdy Holschuh, who, with his wife Helen, have since gone on to be with the Lord. Howdy and Helen were great friends from back in the days when we attended Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church in a small town called Scrabble. The Holschuhs were an unusual couple for that rural congregation. “Howdy” was Captain Howard Holschuh, USN, Retired, who served with distinction all over the world. His wife Helen was the great love of his life. She was a strong woman who used her strength to serve others. We benefited from that strength, as did all who knew her. When Howdy turned 90, his outlook was just as positive and faith-filled as it was when we met him more than thirty years earlier. Today, let’s consider this life well lived, as we listen to the words of an ancient psalmist:
But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. (Psa. 92:12-15)
When Pam and I met Howdy, we were taken by his sunny personality. He always seemed to be “up.” His outlook was positive, always informed by his faith. It wasn’t that life had always been perfect for him. Howdy had been through a lot, including losing his son Steve in a terrible hotel fire. But one of the things we learned from Howdy was that life doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. Eventually, Howdy and Helen moved from Virginia to South Carolina, and then later to an assisted living facility in Ohio, so they could be near their children and grandchildren in their later years. I should mention that during his last few years, Howdy wrote and published five books. His last, Helen Dearest, was the story of their continuing love affair, where he quoted letters they had exchanged during courtship and the many times they were separated during their 65 years of marriage. He also wrote a Lenten booklet with daily devotionals and short biographies of High Priest Caiaphas, King Herod, Pontius Pilot, Judas Iscariot, and others, including photographs of the Holy Land that he and Helen had taken when they visited there. Not bad for a 90 year old, right? Today’s passage tells us that the godly will flourish in the courts of the Lord and will still be vital and productive in old age. I saw that promise worked out in practical ways in the life of our friend, Howdy. I want some of that, don’t you?
Today, take a moment and consider this wonderful promise…that you and I can flourish like palm trees. What a wonderful God! And such Good News!