Heaven’s Gain: Linda Shinault

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 Linda Shinault
July 16, 1949 – January 25, 2018

The world has lost a giant today.

Not a “giant” as in one possessing worldly notoriety, fame, or fortune.  Nor one you would even recognize on the 6 o’clock news, being part of that company of movers and shakers so often heralded by the peoples of the earth.

But in heaven, this giant – Linda Shinault — is known well.  Because she is known by one of the most laudable titles in the Kingdom:

“Prayer Warrior.”

Yes. This was my friend, and my beloved sister in Christ.  Linda Shinault:  Prayer Warrior and Prayer Leader extraordinaire.

Very early this morning – on this Thursday, January 25, 2018 – Linda left this lowly plain, and rose to see her Savior at long last face to face.  She is in the heavenly embrace now forevermore.

And as my head swirls now with so many thoughts as I contemplate this immense loss, I am reminded again of a quote that I saw many months ago which first caused me to think of my sister – and hero – Linda Shinualt.

The real test of a saint is not one’s willingness to preach the gospel, but one’s willingness to do something like washing the disciples’ feet – that is, being willing to do those things that seem unimportant in human estimation but count as everything to God.
~ Oswald Chambers

When I first came across the above quote, I immediately thought to myself:

How true! For how many in the Church honestly rush forward to volunteer for the service that offers little to no recognition, rare thanks, and certainly no public affirmation?  

Not many.

The world seeks fame and notoriety.  And sadly, even members of Christ’s own Church can sometimes exhibit this same mindset:  Loving position and notoriety.  Seeking to engage in service that assures attention is drawn to themselves in order to gain applause. Perhaps that is why Oswald Chambers said the real test of a saint is not even one’s willingness to preach the gospel.

Now some might be shocked at such a seemingly outrageous statement.  Maybe even deeply offended.  “How could he say such a thing?!” they might ask.

But in reflection, I am persuaded it must be for this one cause:

You see, in the pulpit there is still the potential to receive the applause of men.  Criticism, too, for sure.  No question on that.  The litany of abuses perpetrated upon faithful men and women in the pulpit are legion.  And it is tragic.

But there is also available the potential for applause.  Great applause for those who preach.  Now who can deny that?

So no.  No, says Chambers.  The real test of a saint is not even one’s willingness to preach.

But the test is this:

Who among us is willing to do the work that means nothing to the world, but counts as everything to God?  

I can answer:  Linda Shinault.

Hidden away from the world’s view but conspicuously open to heaven’s view, my friend Linda was willing, day after day – indeed, decade after decade – to do that work which is unheralded by the world, but counts as everything to God.

The private, hidden work of prayer.

And make no mistake about it.  It IS work.  It is the work Linda was called to, and which she took up faithfully.  A lifetime of dedicated prayer.  Not only did Linda live it personally.  She inspired it in others.

Many years ago, when God first called Linda to begin and lead a prayer group, she didn’t feel qualified, which — paradoxically, and even rather comically to me — is the very thing that in my view instantly qualified her, as Linda clearly had no confidence in her own abilities.  She had no regard for her own strength or wisdom or intelligence.   She was nervous.  Even a bit intimidated.

But Linda knew God had spoken.  So she pressed in to God. And moved out in faith.

And today?

Today, in addition to her devoted family, Linda leaves behind a company of dedicated prayer warriors who can still be found gathering together each and every week in the Prayer Chapel of her home church, interceding for the needs of others.

And all because Linda first answered her own call as a lifetime Prayer Warrior.

Now, as I contemplate Linda’s entry through heaven’s gates this morning, I can hear the thunderous sound of applause from the company of heaven who know what powerful good was wrought by the intercession of this one humble saint.  For they know what God’s Word announces to us in James 5:16:

The fervent effectual prayer of the righteous man accomplishes much.   It accomplishes much.

What can we say, then, of this life lived in ceaseless devotion to prayer?  This very life which Linda lived.

We know and can say this:

Linda’s life work, though hidden, was deadly powerful.  Posing a direct threat to the kingdom of darkness every single day. Her relentless cries to heaven lifted the sorrowful, encouraged the fainthearted, strengthened the weak, broke down walls, pulled down strongholds, conquered the enemy, and destroyed the wicked schemes of the evil one.

God placed His mantle upon Linda Shinault.  And Linda, being faithful to fulfill her call, shirked not her duty – but fought on, soldiered on, selflessly, sacrificially.  Decade after decade. Never once giving up, or turning back, not even to her last precious days on earth.

Such is the work, and the life of a true soldier-saint who travails in faithful service to the King as a Prayer Warrior.

Such was the life of Linda Shinault.

Yes. The world has lost a giant today.  One who changed the very world around her, one life at a time…one day at a time…from the secret place of her prayer closet.  Through her faithful, fervent, effectual, powerful – glorious – prayers which availed much.

Well done, my beloved friend.  You have fought hard the good fight.  You have fought well.  You have finished your race.  Take your rest now.  I bid you farewell.  But not forever.  For we shall see each other again in glory.