I had the privilege of praying the salvation prayer with my Stepfather, Jim, last week in Florida.
To know how far we've come, I have to take you back.
There is an enemy and he is real. The Bible says, "Be alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8) I didn't know the Lord until my twenties; when I was a little girl I had Jim confused with the enemy... because Satan had such a grip on our home.
At the time, Jim was an alcoholic, and my mother suffered from chronic migraines. Her doctors tired of treating her and to silence the problem, put her on huge amounts of narcotics on a daily basis. We lived in a beautiful country home on a lake.
Lakes still scare me.
Underneath the facade, we each fought our own demons there. It's too bad that at the time we didn't know we were all fighting the same one. I remember praying, begging, a God I didn't know, at a very early age.
I ran from the Gospel when I heard it because I couldn't love a God who let it happen, who looked away. The Footprints Poem is very dear to me now. The word says, "All things work together for good..." (Romans 8:28), but I couldn't fathom how God could justify, what was.
It has taken a lifetime to learn He didn't justify... He has redeemed.
Jim called me late one night about 10 years ago (after I had received Christ) and apologized, for everything. I forgave him on the spot. I knew that who he was, was not who he is.
None of us are.
He's been very sick lately. He has been at death's door again and again, which has mercilessly tormented my mother. He is not a monster. And I'm not a scared little girl.
So when I was there last week, one morning we sat around the table listening to the rain, and I said, "if you died tomorrow, are you sure you would meet Jesus in Heaven?" and he said no. It was a no that tore through me like lightning.
My pastor says we're not supposed to change the Word, it is supposed to change us. So it has.
We prayed together, hand in hand, and the Kingdom is one bigger. I left a Bible... just tonight on the phone we challenged each other to a race to see who will get through ours faster. He guaranteed me I would lose. My pleasure Jim, my pleasure.
Isaiah 55:10-11 says As the rain and the snow come down from Heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my Word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Amen and Amen,