Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Your missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck reporting:

I'll never forget a meeting of national conservative leaders when Bush Administration spokesman Tony Snow was on the hot seat. It may be surprising to some to learn that President Bush is not popular in many conservative circles, and he certainly wasn't with this crowd. The small group peppered poor Tony with demanding questions. I didn't share the disdain. My mind was on how sick the man looked. His hair thinning grotesquely; his skin that sickening cancer-color gray. I had no doubt he was dying.

Still, Tony kept his composure and gracious smile, doing his best to generously respond. At the appropriate moment I decided to break in and thwart the pillorying. Instead of thrusting another barb at the poor man, I turned the discussion. I told him that as a minister, I had a pastoral side that wondered what his journey through cancer had done for his spiritual life. What followed was one of the most grace-filled sermons on suffering I will likely ever hear.

With just a few words, Tony talked about how his disease had, more than anything else, drawn him closer to God, to his wife and children and to other people. Everyone in the room could see it was genuine. There were no cameras or reporters present and no one was allowed to comment to the media afterward. It was a small group--hardly an audience to impress.

Tony was known for his deep Christian faith. I know he kept company with the likes of Jerry Leachman, former UA football player and current Washington Redskins team chaplain. I would hear mention of his dropping in on Bible studies and prayer meetings around town. On that uncomfortable day on the hot seat, he spoke convincingly of his conversations with God. Mercifully, one of the venerable members of that group suggested we end with prayer for Tony. He humbly bowed his head as hands were laid on his perspiring neck.

I often wondered about the words of Psalm 116:15, "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." It's a funny thing to think of death being "precious" to God. When I think, though, of how precious this man was, I can see how God would like to reclaim him. My thoughts and prayers are with Tony's wife and young children who must miss him terrribly, as so many of us will in much smaller measure. At the same time, I can see how God Himself would rejoice over having this caliber of servant among his ranks.

See you in Heaven, Tony!

Rev. Rob Schenck
Faith and Action
109 2nd St, NE
Washington, DC 20002


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Clearly, many thanks for the help in this question.