My wife, Barbara and I had recently married and were living in Palm Desert, California. The year was 1974, and the season was early fall, when we met a very special man. Barbara and I had found a wonderful church to attend that seemed to be overflowing with the love of the Lord. Every time we would attend the church, there stood an elderly man by the name of Brother Harold to greet us. He was a very Christ-like man that you could tell genuinely loved God.
His countenance would glow as a full moon lighting up the darkest night. He was short with a full gray beard and his appearance could easily pass as one of Jesus’ early followers such as Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. When he was called upon to pray, you would have thought that Jesus himself was praying because of the sincerity, love and expression in his voice. The small statured man seemed to be a giant when it came to the knowledge and understanding of the Bible.
Many times Barbara and I would stare at Brother Harold to try to detect the possibility of angel wings sprouting from his shoulders. We often thought that he could be an angel and we were unaware. We had never met a man quite like this! Extraordinary in spirit, but very humble and lowly, as Brother Harold’s life seemed to be one long prayer. My new found family would meet in the small one bedroom, abode for prayer and Bible study. Brother Harold taught in a way that motivated me to hunger and thirst for the things of God.
The same year, Barbara bought me a Bible for Christmas. I would take my Bible to work and read every chance I could. I began, like Brother Harold, rising at 5 a.m. and praying for at least a hour. Psalm 113 says, “From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the name of the Lord is to be praised.” I literally would rise to see the sun come up as I prayed on my rooftop patio above my garage. While on the rooftop, I would sing songs of praise to the Lord. It seemed strange in the desert to hear roosters crowing, but it seemed even stranger that I was up crowing with them. The roosters would crow awhile, then I would sing a while. The louder the roosters crowed, the louder I would sing. There was no way that I was going to let a chicken out-sing me!
Brother Harold has now gone to be with the Lord, but I’ll close this tribute with an often quoted phrase of my bearded friend. When I would ask Brother Harold, “Friend, how are you doing?” He would say, “Tommy, I’m loving the Lord and loving you.” The next time someone asks you, “How are you doing?” Don’t be a chicken! Try crowing, “I’m loving the Lord and loving you!”