How many of you have decided at one point or the other that it’s up to you to bring someone into a saving relationship with Jesus? I hope there’s more people out there than just me!
Unfortunately that happened with my mother…
I wrote a bit about mom and her background back in January 2016 (What’s Being Taught in our Churches?). Her dad was a Lutheran minister, but she had never been taught about having a saving faith in Jesus in order to have the assurance of going to heaven.
My sister Sonja and I both used to be so burdened for our mother because she was so unhappy with her life. Unfortunately she and I used to battle a lot, so often our weekly get-togethers would end up turning into a screaming match between mother and me with Sonja often playing a referee.
As the year 2000 rolled around she was nearing 80 years-old, and she began having health issues. She had been the picture of health for most of her life, so she wasn’t handling it very well when she started to experience issues which took away a lot of her energy – and gave her pain.
But she was soooooo stubborn! The doctors and specialists would give her a medical plan, but she would never follow it. Either Sonja or I would start attending her doctor appointments with her, but after awhile her attitude really started to irritate me. I was getting tired of her telling her doctor that “she was so old she might as well just die from a heart attack.”
“That’s not funny, mom.”
Finally one day I just had enough.
“Mom, you want to know maybe why you haven’t died yet? Because Sonja and I have been praying for you because we love you! If you were to die tonight, do you know where you’d go?”
Oh boy, here we go…
MOM: Of course I’ll be going to heaven; I’m a good person, and I read the Bible and pray.
ME: Do you really mom? Then what does the Bible say? The Bible says that Jesus is the only way to heaven. What about the Billy Graham Decision magazine that I give you to read? You told me you always read it, but you don’t, do you?
MOM: Yes I do! Billy Graham says that you should baptize your babies and you didn’t even to that!
SONJA: He doesn’t say that!
MOM: Oh, you just both think you’re “so religious” – you think there’s no one as religious as you. What kind of a church do you go to anyway? If you went to a Lutheran church I’d go with you to church, but you don’t. It’s your fault I don’t go to church! A lot of ministers say stuff, but they don’t really believe everything they say!
MOM: And besides, what about all those people who just died in the Alaska Airlines crash? Are you trying to tell me they didn’t all go to heaven?
ME: Well mom, most likely many of them did not.
That was it – she left crying to go to her bedroom.
Sonja looked at me with sorrow in her eyes: “I just don’t know what it’s going to take to get through to her…”
As steaming hot as I was at the moment wanting to just leave and go home, I didn’t; instead I was surprised to find I was starting to cry, so I went to another room and just wept and prayed for awhile.
Finally the 3 of us all came together again in her living room, and were actually able to pull through the next couple of hours in a civil manner. Sonja managed to get in a few good comments later on about how our relationship needs to be with God (she was always more level-headed than I was), but mom just ignored her.
When it was finally time to go I hugged mother and asked her if she knew we loved her. She said yes, and that’s why we fight – because we love each other (that was a new revelation to me!).
Jesus makes it quite clear in John 6:44 that no one can bring people to a saving relationship with Christ on their own power – God Himself draws them. Now perhaps all these conversations (arguments!) were orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, but I also know myself very well. When I really want something to happen I tend to push, and then, usually, things turn out even worse off than before.
I’ll write more later on mother and Sonja and my adventures with her, but for now let me just say that to “be still” (Psalm 46:10) and wait for God to open the doors, is certainly the best way…