Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Memories That Last by Susan Harris
I'm writing this blog minutes before the clock strikes midnight. When you read it I will be collecting the final few memories of a business/promotion tour in my birth country of Trinidad. So many they are - the ocean view from the seventh floor of the Hyatt Regency and the glass bathroom that steals privacy; the warm welcome and service of the staff; the foods, music and friendly, helpful people of my country; the kilometres walked; the balmy air and hundred of things that melt together to produce an experience that cannot be captured in isolated descriptions.
Yet there's one memory that trumps the ones of my trip. It revolves around a quiet man who said no to every question I posed, until he said yes to the one that truly counted.
Last month my husband and I shared Christmas supper with close friends. Their brother whom I'll call Sam sat on the fifth chair. All evening long he politely declined my offerings. "No, thanks" to fruit punch, coffee or water. No thanks to the hor d'oeuvres over which an impromptu game took on. No thanks to a second helping of potatoes and the many dishes that crowded the delightful table. No thanks to photos.
After the meal Sam went to his room. When it was time to leave I donned my Santa hat to brave the cold, cold air. Then suddenly Sam appeared.
Without planning or preliminaries I was propelled to ask, "Have you invited Jesus into your life?"
Can you guess what Sam said?
"No." He shook his head as he replied. (Take 10 points if you guessed correctly.)
"Would you like to invite Jesus into your heart?" I was impelled to share Christ with the quiet man even though I anticipated "no".
I continued, "God loves you and has a wonder--"
"Yes, yes, I would like to invite Jesus…" Sam was saying.
I was momentarily stunned. Did he say Yes?
Yes, he did say yes. Lead him in the prayer my heart instructed excitedly.
I did. Sam repented of his sins and invited Jesus into his heart. Then he turned to his sister and explained that about 10 years ago when she had taken him to a Christmas service at church, the pastor had given a call for salvation but he had disregarded it. He also turned down her offer to walk with him to the front of the church.
He explained further: "That night the "spirit" came to me right here (he touched his chest) and said 'Why didn't you go up?'"
Holy, holy God! Conviction had torn at Sam for 10 years. He had been waiting, hoping, longing for the opportunity to ask Jesus into his life for ten long years, and on December 25, 2018, a lady with a Santa hat had finally brought that moment to Him. This memory will never be erased.
We rejoiced that evening. Sam's smiled from ear to ear after he invited Jesus and received a Bible from his sister.
I believe that Sam would have made it to Heaven even if someone had not led him in a prayer. Back up, you might be saying. How could that happen? This is how it happens…Acts 16:31 tells us, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…" Sam had believed ten years ago as he lay on his bed and the "spirit" came to him. We do not see the heart. But God does. Sam did not know that he could turn his life over to Christ on his own. In his simple way he assumed it had to be done through a third party. But his heart had yearned for God, and God "spirit" had come to him. And a decade later God had allowed him to find the assurance in person.
I believe Heaven will be filled with people who have yearned for the true and living God in secret. Only in Eternity will we truly discover what lasts.
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