Communicating grace: Prayers for a dying man
A month or so ago, we were having unseasonable warm weather and I was loving it!
However, our trees were not only starting to have leaf buds, there were actually popping out their leaves. I wanted to be able to talk “tree” to them to tell them to hold off — that this was just a tease — that some freezing nights were ahead — to wait another month or so to pop those leaves. Unfortunately, I cannot talk “tree” and now, instead of being covered with leaf buds or small leaves, our red maples are covered with helicopter seeds.
Long ago, God sent Jesus into the world so He could talk our language and get His wonderful message to us. He set an example of how we can get His wonderful message to others — by communicating in their language. Unless we can take the time to get to know people, to understand what their particular “language” is, our wonderful gospel message can have the same effect as me trying to talk to our trees.
God has placed people in our lives — and not by happenstance or coincidence — to learn their language in a way that we can share His awesome gospel message in a way they can understand. Jesus certainly thought we were worth it — and isn’t an eternal soul worth it for us to take the time and energy to try and communicate the message well?
Mary asked to pray for her father-in-law who does not have many days left on this earth. The doctors do not give him longer than a week before his cancer takes his life. The problem is that Mary’s father-in-law is a practicing Mormon polygamist and cares more about what man thinks than God. His roots go back to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young — he wears a six-pointed star ring and believes he is one of God’s chosen people. Mary says that he holds a high calling in the church and is full of pride.
When Mary left Mormonism and the polygamist community, the family was standoffish, but have since seen her love for them and have grown to like having her around. At times, her father-in-law upsets his children and they do not want to spend the holidays together, but Mary arranged and has encouraged good relationships. For this, her mother and father-in-law are very thankful. Because of this, Mary has taken the time to speak their language through her loving words and actions.
May we pray that as Mary’s father-in-law nears his death, he sees himself as he really is — so imperfect and in need of a true Savior. May the Light in Mary shine brightly — May he set aside his stubborn pride and embrace that Light — May God use these last few days to open his eyes and heart to the real Jesus, the real God. Oh, the realities of eternity and the urgency of faith needed!
“When the LORD judges them, their life will come to an end. Sinners won’t have any place among those who are godly.” (Psalm 1:5)
Dear LORD God, how sobering it is to think that those who do not acknowledge You as THE God — who do not realize their total depravity and need of a Savior — they will have no place with You. For eternity. Oh, LORD, Mary’s father-in-law is so close to death — and he is so spiritually dead also — he is so far from You. You have allowed him to live this long — and to have Mary and others be witnesses of a true faith in You. In these last few hours of his life, may You mercifully crate true faith in his heart. May he not remain stubborn and proud and stone-hearted, but realize his desperate need of a Savior who has already done it all for him. And LORD, there are so many others like him who are heading toward eternal — ETERNAL — damnation — a place I cannot even fathom — a place without even a speck of You. Oh, may I see the desperate need to get to know the people You have put into my life so I can speak their language — so I can share Your message of wrath and grace in a way that is meaningful — being Your messenger to those lost without You. May my life be about You. I humble come before You in Jesus’ mighty name. AMEN.