The other day I was perusing the obituary listings online. It seems more and more I am finding more and more people I know or have known from my youth are on the lists these days. I happened upon a name and it didn't ring a bell-- at first, that is. I usually don't read them unless I think I might know them but I started reading this one, and it described the person's life as being one of total service to God. Then it mentioned he worked at an organization I used to volunteer with, Youth Guidance (YGI) in Pittsburgh.
All of a sudden, I recognized his name, Ernest Frederick:
I volunteered with YGI as a college woman, being a "big sister" to a little girl from another part of town. I took some trainings at their office and had a chance to meet Ernie, as he was called. At the time, I was struggling in my faith and having all sorts of questions. One day, I got a chance to sit down with him one on one, and he shared with me a little paper explaining how to cast my cares on God. It had a little stick figure of a man with his arms raised. He explained that we also praised and thanked God and then cast our cares and the result would be sweet peace, something the world cannot give us. As he shared, he wrote verses on it and drew little red lines going upwards to heaven from the stick figure man. All the while he radiated.
I tried with all my might to grasp what he was saying, but not just because of the paper. It was because I could clearly see Ernie lived this daily in his walk with the Lord. There was something about him that spoke louder than words of his close relationship with Jesus. How I envied his joy in the Lord, and found that I still have the paper, with its many Scripture verses. He titled it, "Overcoming Anxiety, Phillippians 4:4-9."
Years later, I visited a church nearby and in their foyer they had a booklet for the Pittsburgh Prayer Project. I saw his name on the booklet. It was for a month long prayer campaign for the city of Pittsburgh. I found it in his obituary that he went to Mount Washington (which overlooks the city) and prayed for our city for 19 years.
No one but the Lord knows the impact this man had on our city after his faithful prayers. In Watchman Nee's book, Table in the Wilderness, Nee described a person similar to Ernie:
His light may come to us in many ways. Some of us have known saints who really knew the Lord, and through praying with them or talking with them, in the light of God radiating from them, we have seen what we never saw before. I have met one such, who is now with the Lord, and I always think of her as a "lighted" Christian. If I did but walk in the room I was brought immediately to a sense of God.... A Table in the Wilderness, for the date of August 24I never talked with Ernie Frederick again after I left YGI over thirty years ago. But his impact, his radiance, I still remember clearly. It is my greatest hope that one day, people might say that by the grace of God I radiated too.