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February 25, 2008

The Thing That Really Counts

After Mrs. Forrest fell in 1935, her life changed dramatically. She had been accustomed to traveling to cities such as Atlanta, Greenville, Anderson, and Ashville to conduct weekly Bible studies. For years, she had maintained a full class load at Toccoa Falls College teaching the students and helping to oversee the daily operations of the institute. In addition to these duties, she also had a weekly radio program and taught Sunday School in the Toccoa community. But a well-polished floor and a cotton throw rug altered her life in ways that she never expected. In her day and time, metal pins were the only way to put bones back together. She was outfitted with a plaster cast and a reassuring doctor told her that she would be up and on her way to recovery in about 18 weeks, but this never happened.

From a human perspective, the accident threatened her ministry. It also seemed cruel and not at all like something a loving God would allow. Yet He did. His ways are not our ways. His plans are not our plans. He had something even greater in mind for her life. Though her hip never healed and her physical condition grew worse Evelyn Forrest continued to teach. However, she also began a new ministry. It was one that caused the enemy much more trouble than he thought he would have to endure from a physically weakened saint. It was a ministry of prayer. Mrs. Forrest took up this new mantle with the eagerness of a child. When pain prevented her from teaching, she stayed at home and prayed. Friends commented how horrible it was that she was so confined. But she recorded in her journal something far different: “I pray everywhere and without the worry of time being limited. I pray for the students and I pray for my husband. I pray without ceasing because I know the One who hears my voice is steadily at work.” Would you have been so eager to do the same?

Many times, we measure accomplishments by what we achieve on paper or the positions we hold in life. But this is not how God keeps score. The work Evelyn Forrest did before her accident was significant, but it was even greater in the latter years because it was born out of a selfless desire to see lives changed and hope renewed in hopeless hearts.

Prayer is the incense of a holy heart
Rising to God from bruised and broken things.
When kindled by the Spirit’s burning breath
And upward borne by faith’s ascending wings. . . .
–A. B. Simpson

(Taken from the online devotional book Grace in the Wilderness © 2008,