Sunday, March 21, 2010

Apple Pie

My neighbor had been having health troubles in the past couple of weeks, and we have been quite concerned about him. Death is something that everyone living will eventually succumb to, and with illness, that reality seems more imminent. So he's been on my mind quite a bit lately, especially since I do not know whether he has a relationship with Jesus. I've felt as though I'm being led to speak with him, just to be sure he's had a chance to form a relationship with Jesus my Savior, who is my hope not only for eternal life, but gives me hope and assurance in everyday life.

I'd come to the decision that I would go over to his house and visit with him, and make a point of talking about the eternal life that is offered through Christ. I wasn't exactly looking forward to this conversation - it could certainly be very awkward, and no one really enjoys awkward conversation but I felt it was important enough to risk a bit of awkwardness. Now, this person is someone who I've always enjoyed talking to - in fact before Luke was born I had the opportunity to chat with him for a few minutes almost every day, and always enjoyed this. He is not married, and does not have children, and he is also not much of a people person, and has good brothers, sisters, cousins and friends who've been helping him out a lot, and I didn't want to tire him out with too many extra visitors if I'd have come, so I waited.

It had been suggested to me on Saturday afternoon that he might enjoy some dessert brought over to the house. I was happy to learn this because I'd been wanting to help with meals, but wasn't sure what to bring that would fit best with his diet. So I made the plan that I'd make a pie - either Peach or Apple, and decided on Apple Pie, in fact, it's baking in the oven as I type this. I'd bring some pie over later Sunday afternoon, and talk with him at that time. I figured it'd be an easy way to have an "excuse" to have visited him, and I knew that God would give me the words to speak.

It had been a busy Sunday morning, neither Matt nor myself were dressed for church, and both Cora and Luke were still sleeping, and we had less than 10 minutes before it was time to go. It was crazy....rush, rush, rush, get in the car, and go! I left the house at 7:38, and was almost sure I'd be late for church. On a normal morning, I'd be stressed and tense after rushing around like that, but I found my heart just full of praise! I was smiling, singing out loud, just full to overflowing with PRAISE in my heart for God's goodness. This lasted from a little bit after I had turned North from the river bottoms, the whole way to church, and then even after the first couple of songs (and then I had a baby and a toddler to focus on!). It was a GREAT feeling.

As Matt and I had just reached the parking lot after church and were loading the children into the car, Matt answered a phone call. It didn't look good, and he mouthed the news to me before he hung up - our neighbor had died. I was shocked - yes, we'd been concerned for his health, but I had plans to talk to him that very afternoon! That afternoon...and I was too late! I don't know what to make of it.

First I felt terrible. I felt so badly that I didn't make it a point to talk with him sooner. Then I remembered that the family he was raised in were likely regulars at Sunday School and church in his childhood at least, and I firmly believe that your salvation doesn't depend on whether you are an active church goer, what matters is that you put your faith in Jesus having atoned for your sins - it is faith, not works, that allows men into heaven. I wanted to know what time he died. I still don't know for sure, but it was probably right around the time I was driving to church, when I was so full of Praise that I couldn't keep it in. Could it be that God was giving me some reassurance, allowing me to join in the celebration going on in Heaven at the moment when my neighbor had been called to his heavenly home? I don't know, but I think it's possible, and I like to believe it's true.

So we're mourning the loss of a good neighbor and relative today. Someone who I'm really not sure where he'll be spending eternity, because I never had that conversation with him. I have hope that he is in heaven rejoicing, but I don't know the answer. I do know that we have been promised that any who know Jesus as their personal Savior, any who believe that He took on their sins and their punishment instead of them, was crucified, and then defeated death by rising from the dead - any who believe this have been promised eternal life in paradise with God. I also know that those who do not put their faith in Jesus as their Savior do not have the hope of eternal life, but will be doomed to spend eternity in hell. I wish I'd had that conversation with him.

And that's why I'm posting this. Where a person will spend eternity is too important to wait, so I'm posting this as a reminder - please don't let yourselves get too busy to take the time to have those conversations when God puts it on your heart to do so. I guess I don't feel guilty about my neighbor, talking to him today was something I was going to do. The pie and plan to talk to him were on the day's agenda. I truly think that there's a strong possibility that there is rejoicing in heaven over him today. But I urge you reading this: is there someone you've been meaning to share Christ with? Someone who you know could benefit from having a relationship with Jesus? Please don't wait to share your faith with them. It could impact them for eternity.

Now to decide what to do with this pie.