“Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.” Luke 21:14-15
Today I want to share something about speaking truth to friends and loved ones; the truth of God’s love and saving grace.
I had a very dear friend with whom the relationship went back to high school! That’s a long time, I can hear you say! Yep, over 60 years. We were roommates after graduation, and she was my maid of honor in our wedding. (That is her standing beside me at our wedding in this picture!) It was a friendship based on memories and shared experiences back to when we both had no gray hair! She suffered a ton of medical issues: Insulin-dependent diabetes resulting in a kidney transplant, open heart surgery, vascular surgeries, flesh-eating bacteria, smashed shoulder and shoulder replacement, the list goes on. Her life was fragile, to say the least. Since Fred was in the Navy we lived far apart most of our lives, and whenever we would visit, I told myself, “This time I’m going to tell her about Jesus, and be sure that she is ready to go, should her life be taken.” Each time we left their house I was awash in guilt because I didn’t do it. There never seemed to be the right time or opening to bring up the subject, so I would purpose in my heart, “Next time.”
One day, though, her husband called to tell us she was in ICU in critical condition. Her femoral artery had ruptured and an infection was destroying her vascular system. The doctors were struggling to save her leg…and trying to make sure that enough blood was getting to her transplanted kidney so it would function. We almost lost her when the artery ruptured. Such an amazing story of a miracle, but that’s not where I am going today. My heart was broken and I couldn’t help but sob out to God to give me another chance to share the truth with her, and her husband. To redeem all the missed opportunities, because if she died and I hadn’t told her, I wouldn’t be able to bear it.
God answered my prayer. They life-flighted her from Wyoming to Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle and as she lay in ICU here, I had the opportunity to ask her husband about where they stood with God; to know for sure that they were trusting Jesus for their salvation.
He assured me that they had taken that step and were ready. And then God did an amazing thing. He healed her. Or at least as much as is possible! I was able to talk to her. She was walking and talking and told me she felt better than she had in months. A stent, a patch, good blood flow to her kidney, and infections coming under control. And as I spoke with her, I took the opportunity of asking her directly about her relationship with God and she answered that she had trusted Jesus. My friend is with Jesus now, I’m confident of that!
I tell you this today to encourage you not to wait to share Jesus with your loved ones. Sometimes it is easier to tell a perfect stranger than to tell those closest to us. We keep thinking that there will always be an opportunity; that we will wait for the perfect opening, but I’m thinking that maybe it will never come, that we may have to take the bull by the horns and create that opportunity. To pray that God will give us the insight and alertness and readiness to share. Be ready. You may not ever have another opportunity. I am so grateful that God provided one for me and wanted to share my burden with you; to offer encouragement. There is nothing worse than losing someone to whom you might have given the hope of the gospel and failed to do so. Only God knows the heart, that’s true, and it’s entirely possible that He has shown His salvation in some other situation, through someone else, but make sure. It’s worth everything.
I have another friend now; one who recently lost a friend who blatantly did not want to hear the message. Yet my friend kept on speaking it. I’ve watched her, and admire her courage to show her friend God’s love in hundreds of ways. Though our loved ones may continue to reject Him, it doesn’t negate our responsibility to share His good news.
Thanks for stopping by. I pray God’s sweet touch of opportunity upon you today. I’ll welcome you back here next week!