Some of you may or may not know, but my stepmother passed away one week ago on Sunday. I’ll be honest (remember, this is group-what’s said here, stays here), I wasn’t real close with her. As a matter of fact, I hadn’t seen her in a long time (years).
I took off last week, to both be respectful of my family and hers. It was trying to me, in that I wasn’t really feeling all the grief others were feeling. It kind of struck me as odd. You see, when she was alive, most of what I heard about her was negative, and I allowed it to cloud my judgment (more on that later). But now that she was dying, I had to go and see her, and everyone talked about what a good woman she was, and that kind of stuff that only seems to come about when someone if facing death.
I got a call on Saturday, March 11th, from a relative telling me that I needed to go see my stepmother that day. It was something I couldn’t ignore. If I made excuses or said how I truly felt about it, it would make my life with my side of my family a whole lot harder than needed. So I left my wife and children at home, and drove out to East Knoxville to go to see my stepmother.
I’ll be honest some more, I didn’t want to go. I was angry and upset that I was close to 40 years old, with a wife and 4 daughters, and I was being treated like a seven year old child in this situation. But sometimes, we do things we don’t like, not because we have to, but because it’s the best thing to do in a situation. It’s subjugating you, for someone else.
I got there, and figured out that I would just make my appearance, spend some time with the extended family, and leave, so I could make it to church that evening. Then, I walked in on her.
I can’t describe in enough detail what I saw; she was simply barely there in the bed. She was skin and bones, and I mean just that, skin and bones. She had cancer from smoking and probably other issues with her drinking. She was THIN. One of my cousins was lying on the bed with her, just talking so she could hear a familiar voice, but she didn’t respond at all. As a matter of fact, she barely responded the entire time I was there.
I knelt down at her bedside, and noticed that there was a Bible in the bed next to her. I knew she wasn’t cognizant enough to read it, and I hoped it wasn’t there just for show. My cousin left me with her, and at that moment, I sent a text message to my wife. I told her simply, “Its ok. Im where God wants me”
I had a watershed moment at that time. God spoke to me, and He asked me, “I wonder if she is saved?” I think that hurt me more than anything else in my life. God knew whether or not she was saved, but I didn’t know. And at that point, I apologized to her. She didn’t respond, and it didn’t matter. The words poured out, and I asked her to forgive me, because I didn’t know. I asked God to forgive me, because I didn’t know.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that she didn’t hear the gospel because I didn’t pray for her. I mean that I never even prayed to make sure that someone introduced her TO Jesus Christ. I just assumed that someone would do it. I had more important people on my list.
So here I am, telling you this. And someone may look down on me, because I am brutally honest in these e-mails, as honest as I can be for you. Why? Because too many times in this Christian walk, we don’t disciple people correctly. Everyone has good days AND bad days. Everyone falls sometimes. The knack is in knowing that you can get up, and Jesus is not shaking His head at you, saying “Tsk! Tsk! Why are you so hardheaded? Why don’t you learn?” He loves us. He picks us up, dusts us off, wipes away our tears, and continues down that dusty road with us.
Everyone needs to know that they are not alone when they fall. They are not in some vacuum or under a microscope all alone with their sin glaring for the world to see. We all need to know that we CAN and WILL do better.
James 5:16- “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
I need your help in this. I am NOT an evangelist. I am more of a discipler than anything. But I can pray and intercede for my stepbrother and stepsister. I am praying that they will receive salvation. I am praying and interceding for the person that God is already sending to minister to them and show them the path to glory. I am interceding for the person who is already traveling down the dirt road looking for them, because God has placed a burning desire in their heart for them.
Look around you. Who are you NOT praying for to receive salvation because your list is full? Who are you sure someone is praying for, because you just don’t want to pray for them?
I don’t want ANYONE reading this, to go through what I did. I don’t want you to be faced with looking Jesus in the eye, and knowing that you had an opportunity to do something, and you didn’t. I can’t say that I will succeed in this every time I try, but the fact of the matter is that I will at least try. How about you?
You have an enemy out there, who doesn’t want you to know WHO you are, and to WHOM you belong. Get in the fight. Now, before it’s too late.
Be blessed in the Lord,