Today is Memorial Box Monday over at A Place Called Simplicity.
I thought I’d share the story of one man’s salvation as a memorial to God’s goodness today!
My Dad died of leukemia when I was 26…ten years ago now. His older brother, Uncle Jack, was also diagnosed with a disease with the very same likeness. They called it “border-line” leukemia.
For years my uncle was sick and often times, I would have such a burden to pray not only for his health but for his salvation.
Long before I was born, he and my Aunt Gloria made a choice to become Jehovah’s Witness.
I tried on several occasions to talk with them about the Lord but there was never any receptivity. Oftentimes, my aunt and I would stand toe to toe and neither of us took any ground. We didn’t fight. Please don’t misunderstand. In fact, as I was leaving, she would wrap her arms around me and we’d say our I love you’s.
At one point my uncle got very sick and I went to him. Things got serious spiritually as well. My aunt literally would not give me one moment alone with him. I don’t hold that against her, as it was her protective instinct. But it was clear to me that the gospel would not be shared. Not on her watch.
I had to shake the dust from my feet. It was hard.
Again, he recovered and did well for quite some time. And then it happened. A week before Christmas, he was hospitalized and when I woke to the news that morning, the Lord compelled me to go to him and in no uncertain terms was I to keep quiet. I stood the chance of being rejected. All sorts of scenarios played themselves out in my mind. I was certain that there would be no embrace this time or possibly an I love you ever again…yet it made no difference.
My mom, sister and I drove out-of-town to the hospital and when we arrived, the entire family was there. All of my cousins and their children had gathered around. The odds weren’t good.
After a few moments of talking in the hallway, we were invited in to his room, where my aunt was as well. His daughter and granddaughters were also at his side.
The room was separated with a curtain and it just so happened, by God’s divine appointment that my mother and aunt stayed on the other side of the curtain talking privately. It was now or never. There was no time to waste. With his daughter and grandkids as a witness, I asked him if he wanted to be saved? I spoke to him about Jesus, His life, His death, His resurrection…and told my uncle that it was the blood that was shed for him. I asked him if he would accept the blood of Jesus and confess Jesus as His savior.
(Pause here for a moment. You see, my uncle, for the entire duration of his illness, refused blood transfusions because they do not believe in the blood of Jesus and think that one would be defiled if they receive another man’s blood, taking on that person’s sins.)
With one word and without hesitation, he said “Yes!”
I prayed with him and rejoiced with him that he would be in heaven!
When I looked up, only one person remained. His daughter and oldest granddaughter had left the room but the youngest remained. And with tears in her eyes, she said, “Thank you.”
Miraculously, not one person intervened. I felt like I had just passed through the crowd, like Jesus did, unseen…and unhindered. Only God could do that. If you only knew how closely he was watched.
The day after Christmas, he went home.
A few days later, my Dad’s sister called me. She shared with me that she had gone to visit Uncle Jack at home, (where they had sent him to be comfortable). While sitting in his room with him, he said to her… “A man stands at the end of my bed. He is here.” She asked my uncle if he was afraid of the man and he said, “No. He’s watching over me.”
I won’t know until I get to heaven who that man was but I can take a pretty good guess. How beautiful for the Lord to come for His own.
We serve a God who is not willing that even one should perish! (2 Peter 3:9) He will move mountains, people, places and things to get to just one person who needs Him.
The LORD cares deeply when his loved ones die. Psalm 116:15