My Life as Annie’s weekly Time Travel Tuesday asks this week:
Today we are traveling back to a time that a prayer was answered. I have had so many prayers answered and usually in a way that is totally unpredictable and not exactly how I imagined, but BETTER! So, let’s pick one and travel back to that prayer and tell about how God worked it out or answered it for you.
It was hard to narrow this down to just one! But I think the Lord would have me share this one.
I told this story in more detail here, but to condense it a little, my family is mostly unsaved. I became a Christian when I was about 17, and since then, of course, my major concern has been my family’s salvation, though verbal witnessing has been my major failing. I have prayed and I have written to family members about salvation many times, but speaking to them about it is very hard. To me the hardest one of all — both the hardest to speak to and the hardest to the gospel — was my dad. He was an alcoholic, not the most reasonable of men, and had a very bad, very short temper. My mom’s watchword was “Stay out of his way,” so staying “under the radar,” especially if he was in a bad mood, became second nature.
My parents divorced when I was 15 and my mom took the five of us kids and moved several hours away from my dad to Houston. A few years later he moved up to Houston, but an hour away on the other side. It wasn’t long after I was saved that I went to college in South Carolina. When I wrote to my dad, sometimes I wrote out the full plan of salvation, sometimes I just wrote out a salvation verse at the end of my letter, but he never commented on any of it. I figured he just ignored or skimmed over that part.
To fast forward several years, after my husband and I were married and had my oldest two boys, my dad came to SC to visit for the first time. We asked him if he would attend church with us, and at first he said no, but later he agreed to. Then he got sick. He had just gotten out of the hospital with pneumonia not long before he came, and we figured he was just doing to much too soon. We had pinned all our hopes for his salvation on his attending that service and we were greatly disappointed when he couldn’t attend that Sunday: we couldn’t understand why the Lord would allow him to be sick after he agreed to come.
The following Monday he was considerably worse, and we took him to our doctor, who sent him by ambulance to ICU with some kind of deep-seated infection. I think it was the second or third night he was in the hospital that he almost died. When they let us in to see him, he said, “When I get home, me and the Lord and Pastor Hodges (my former pastor in Texas) are going to have to have a long talk.” He had never said anything like that before, never indicated any interest. We asked him if he would like for our pastor here to visit him, and he said yes.
So our pastor came to see him for a few minutes at a time as much as ICU would allow for several days. The first night after my dad was moved to a private room, when we came in to see him, he told us he had accepted the Lord that day when Pastor Minnick came to see him. We were bowled over!
Pastor Minnick told me later that my dad had told him that he used to read the verses I wrote about salvation. I was amazed and so thankful that the Lord worked through those, and I want to encourage those of you with lost loved ones that often the Lord is working in someone’s heart through His Word even when we can’t see any outward signs of it. Keep praying; keep sharing!
To quote from my previous post:
To share with you “the rest of the story” — my dad ended up being in SC for six weeks instead of one. When he went home, I excitedly thought this would be the catalyst to reach the rest of my family. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way. Though there were small, discernible changes, there was no big, dramatic, obvious change. My pastor here said that when someone has lived “on the other side” for so many years (Dad was 61 at this point), sometimes the changes take place more slowly. Plus he wasn’t in church being taught and being around other believers, so I am sure that hindered his spiritual growth. He did, however, love to read, and would devour Christian books I sent him. I remember one phone call when we discussed one of the books I had sent about Soviet Christians who had been imprisoned for their faith, marveling at all they had gone through and God’s grace in sustaining them. When I got off the phone, I just sat for a moment, marveling that I had just had a conversation with my father about the Lord.
He passed away at the age of 67 and I have no doubt he is with the Lord now.