Not Too Late
I would like to share a true story with you to encourage you to keep on praying.
Approximately two years ago an old man (I will not use his name) entered our church one Sunday morning. He was a perfect gentleman, courteous and well-mannered. His wife had died a few months previously and he missed her so much. His two sons lived a great distance away and although they were in touch weekly and cared much for their father, he did not see them very often.
He had lived a very full, worthwhile life. He had served in World War Two in the Royal Navy as a Swordfish pilot, and saw much action. Soon after the war he met and married his wife, then he went off to Antarctica for two year on a scientific survey. Following that he and his wife lived in Malaysia for a few years where he earned his living as a schoolteacher. He returned to England where he continued to teach, eventually becoming a headmaster and finally an Inspector of Schools. He retired to Scotland and enjoyed travelling to a number of countries with his beloved wife.
Although he had lived a very good life he always felt that something was missing. He had a good career and a loving wife and family and felt fulfilled in his life, yet he felt there was something more which he could not fathom. He had never been one to acknowledge God, yet he had had to teach the Bible to the schoolchildren under his care, and so he had a fairly good knowledge of the basic Christian beliefs, yet he classed himself as an atheist. But this man had cousins who prayed regularly for him and witnessed to him about the Lord Jesus whenever they met.
Some months after his wife died he received a letter from these cousins urging him to attend church. As he lived not far from our church and he passed it regularly when out walking, he decided, at last, to enter the doors – it couldn’t do any harm. So he found himself at our morning service. He was made very welcome and he so enjoyed the friendship and the listening ears, because he spoke often about his wife. Praise God he came to find what was missing from his life! He realised that what the Bible teaches is true and he trusted in Jesus for himself and found forgiveness for sin and a whole new outlook on life. He attended an ‘Alpha Course’ which explains what Christianity is all about. He was rather confused when the lesson of the Holy Spirit arose but once it was explained to him he understood and from then he became a witness of what the Lord had done for him. The prayers of his cousins were at last answered.
He was such a lovely man that we all took him to our hearts, my husband especially and we had him to our home a few times. It was a delight to see him grow in his faith and to share what he was learning. He often said that he ‘came late’ but he came and responded to the Lord at the right time for him. On his eighty-ninth birthday several of us took him to a local restaurant for lunch to celebrate. We thought it was his ninetieth birthday until he mentioned his date of birth and then we realised he was only eighty-nine, but we had a wonderful time with him. He was such an easy man to love.
Isaiah 55:6 tells us, “Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near”. Perhaps this gentleman did not set out intentionally to seek the Lord, but because of his cousins persistence he decided to go to church and there he found the Lord Who was very gracious to him. In 1Thessalonians we are exhorted to, “Pray continually”. This is what his cousins did. Maybe there are people on your heart for whom you have been praying for many years. Do not give up! God hears your prayers; He will answer in His own time. He asks that we remain faithful in prayer. Like me, you will have seen the Lord answer your prayers many times; surely that gives us hope to continue to pray for our loved ones who do not yet know the salvation and life that Jesus gives. We must persevere in prayer.
The old man had a few episodes where he required to be hospitalised. My husband had to contact his sons who were so grateful for the care the church had given their father. At Christmas last year his youngest son took him to his home for the holiday. While he was there, the Lord called him home in early January of this year. His funeral service was conducted by our minister at the local crematorium and afterwards the church provided a light meal for the mourners. This also was a witness to his sons and their families of the genuineness and love of the Christian faith and was much appreciated by them. It was a joy to meet the cousins who had prayed. We are sad to have lost this lovely man, but there is hope, certain hope that death is not the end and that he has just gone on before us.
Dear friends, do not give up but PRAY CONTINUALLY!