"My Daddy doesn't believe in Jesus"
My breath caught in my throat as I heard this statement coming from the lips of a precious little four year old girl. In the rotation of volunteers for our children's program at the church the other morning, I found myself helping with the 4 and 5 year olds while their mom's attended a weekly Bible study. Upon hearing this confession, suddenly all the other children began to suggest ways that their little friend could show Jesus to her Daddy. She could love her Daddy. She could obey her Daddy. She could pray for her Daddy. Everyone wanted her Daddy to know Jesus.
We probably all have someone in our life who doesn't believe in Jesus. Maybe it's a parent...a friend...a neighbour...a co-worker...a child...a spouse. Do we have the same longing to see them come to a saving knowledge of the Lord? Are our lives reflecting Christ so that others desire to know Him? Do we make Christ attractive by our behavior and speech? Are we willing to share our faith with others?
These questions began confronting me and not letting me go just over two years ago when I lost a really dear friend who took her own life. (See posts written December 2005 - "A Quote Good Friend" and "Horseshoes and Hand Grenades") She did not believe in Jesus. Had I done all I could to speak truth to her in love and guide her to the One who brought hope when all of life seemed to be suffocating? The circumstances in her life seemed too overwhelming and in the end they demanded every last breath from her. The feeling of failing her, crushed me. Visions of her sweet face crying out from eternal fire plagued me night and day. She was always screaming the same question - Why didn't you make me believe? Oh if only I could.
I think of other friends and family right now that I am storming heaven for in regards to their salvation. Like the old cliche says, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink". God calls us to be His witnesses, but we have to leave each heart response to Him. The Holy Spirit alone is the only one who can open up the eyes of those in darkness and remove spiritual blinders.
I carried the weight and responsibility of my friends death for a long time. One day another dear friend of mine reminded me that nothing I said, or didn't say, would keep someone from giving their life to the Lord. I was carrying a needless burden. God doesn't need me to bring anyone to a saving knowledge of Himself. He doesn't need me, but He could use me. He could have also used someone else. He could have spoken to her in a quiet whisper. He could have revealed Himself to her through creation. And maybe He did all those things, but she chose to reject Him each time. Just as I can't take the glory for any ladies who have responded to an invitation of salvation that I have had the privilege of praying with and introducing to the Lord, I did not need to take the blame for the choice my friend made. She refused and rejected God on her own.
The blame may be gone, but the hurt is still there. I think of the fun times we had. The visits over coffee. Craft sales. Taking our children to swimming lessons. Sharing decorating ideas. Fixing up our gardens together. I miss her greatly. Oh may the Lord use her life and death to encourage me to share my love for Him with even more passion to those who don't know Him. I don't want to live with any more reqrets. I don't want her life to have been lived in vain.
And Lord, for this Daddy who doesn't believe in You, would You be so gracious to spare his life until this precious little child can rejoice that her Daddy on earth will be with her someday when she meets her Father in heaven.