Today, I had a really interesting phone conversation with a friend of mine. I had called him because I had gotten the news that his father had passed away. So as we were talking I asked about his father. Was he a Christian, what was he like stuff like that. So, he shared with me that his father had been in the same church since 1947 – that is 66 years. But! His dad did not believe in Christ or the message of the Bible. Can you imagine going to church, or doing anything for that matter, week after week, year after year and thinking it to be a lie the whole time? But, that is just the beginning of this head scratcher.
For all of those years it was assumed by people in the church and within their family that this man’s father was a Christian. He went to church every Sunday and fixed things and did maintenance projects around the church, “faithfully”. It was not until He got sick in at the end of last year that this son started realizing that his dad had been in the church, but the church was not in him.
Try Just One More Time
So, for the last few months he had been sharing the gospel with his dad. He could see his dad’s health deteriorating and he did not want him to die without doing all he could to tell his dad about Christ, before it was too late. But to no avail. His dad, was staunch in his belief that the Bible was not real. Then earlier this month, one of his siblings encouraged him to try one more time, “just one last time”, to lead their ailing father to Christ.
On that day, my friend went to his father’s bedside and started sharing about Jesus. A few minutes into his efforts, his father’s pastor knocked on the door – divinely ironic. He let the pastor in and told him, that his father, the pastor’s member never had acknowledged Christ as his Savior and was not a believer in Christ. The pastor was deeply shocked. The man had been a member of that church for years before the pastor had come to town. So when he started pastoring the church, he just assumed this faithful older member was already a Christian…But he wasn’t
So the pastor and my friend gathered around this man’s bed and led him to faith in Christ. Ending with the man, confessing that he now believed that Jesus was indeed God and accepted him to be his personal Savior. As my friend shared this story with me today, he was telling it in such a compelling way, that I was completely taken in by it. Then he got real quiet and he said, “that was two weeks ago and those were the last words my father ever spoke.”
I have not been able to stop thinking about that all day. Ninety plus years of living, and his last words before dying were that Jesus is Lord. Imagine if my friend would not have listened to his sister and tried just one last time. It reminded me how we never know how near or far someone is to faith in Christ. Sometimes it just takes – one more time…But there is even more to this story.
Answered Prayers of a Spouse
Now that my friend’s father has passed, he has been cleaning up his father’s house. A few days ago he came across his mother’s old prayer journal. She died several years ago. But as he looked through his mom’s personally handwritten prayers, he came across an entry where she poured her heart out to God that He would save her husband. She wrote that at least 15 years ago. It seems that she was the only one, in the family or church that knew her husband, my friend’s dad, did not really believe in Jesus.
What that said to me, is that as husband’s and wive’s, we are physically, emotionally and spiritually close enough to know where are spouse is, and pray for them. Of course, only God truly knows what is in a persons heart. But through our marriage we get insight that few others will get. And that insight gives us reason to pour our heart out to God in prayer.
I know I sometimes want the answer to my prayers to be immediate or at least pretty quick. But something’ God might not work out in our lifetime – but in the right time. Just something to think about – keep praying believing and trusting God, even when nothing seems to be changing. Because as the Bible says, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). In his time he will answer our prayers concerning our marriage. Whether we ever see the answer or not, is really not our concern. In His time, if He feels it necessary, He will answer our prayers.
EYM, what do you think, do you pray for your spouse? Is it sometimes frustrating or confusing that nothing seems to be changing?