Mom would often mention Uncle Howard's name... and most of the time salvation was always in the sentence.
You see, Uncle Howard wasn't saved.
She always talked about how she continually prayed for him to come to know Christ. Every few months the pastor would comment on how we should never stop praying for our lost loved ones.... no matter how long we've been on our knees for them. He even mentioned it this past Sunday. And each time he makes that statement i think of my mom and how she prays for Uncle Howard.
Family members have tried many times to witness to him and tell him about Jesus, but he always refuses. It's like he's angry. He puts up this wall and won't let the idea even enter his mind. He will have nothing to do with it. Just shuts everything out.
About a year ago we ran into my Aunt Judy in the Walmart parking lot. We hadn't seen her in what seemed like forever so we stopped to chat for a little while.... and yes, check on Uncle Howard. I will never forget what she said that night, "They called in hospice over 6 months ago, but he hasn't passed yet. I just honestly believe it's the Lord giving him more time..."
As we were walking away mom told me that they only call Hospice when the patient has less than 6 months left to live. Amazingly Uncle Howard was still living... and even getting better.
This past Monday evening mom and I were sitting at the table eating dinner and she randomly said, "I wonder how Uncle Howard is doing? It's been a while since i've heard anything. I wonder if he's passed away yet?" I asked her if she was still praying for his salvation and she said yes.
Not even 24 hours later we were sitting in the living room watching tv and the phone rang. I could hear my dad talking on the phone and i just knew exactly what it was. He hung up and called mom into the room...
"that was your father.... Uncle Howard passed away this morning."
And then he stopped for a moment and with a broken voice said...
"And he accepted Christ."
My mother raised her hands in the air as tears formed in her eyes and said "Amen!"
We were so amazed and in awe that we just had to know his story. So my dad called to find out the next day.
And so i share this with you and I hope the following touches your heart and reminds you just how merciful and gracious our God is!
A woman in my Aunt Judy's bible study had a dream that she needed to go visit Uncle Howard. She went and met with him and oddly enough he opened up to her. He had become this angry man who never let anyone in, but something happened when she visited with him. She came back another evening following their first visit, but he wasn't doing well and was not very aware so she left. On her next visit she prayed that the Lord would allow him to be aware and even receptive to what she had to say. While she was with him she brought up Jesus..... and tears rolled down his cheeks. She told him if he wanted Jesus all he had to do was say it. "I want Jesus.... I want Jesus", he said.
That was last Monday evening.... he passed away Tuesday morning.
I am still taken away by how amazing our God is. I can't even stop crying. I have no words.
" ...God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." ( 1 Tim 2:3b-4, 2 Peter 3:9)