This past fall, my aunt passed away. She and my uncle had been married for 62 years and they had no children. My sisters and I were always a part of their lives and they were always a part of everything we did; holidays, birthdays, and school events. The one exception was church activities. They were not involved in the church in any way, and we knew not to invite them to church activities. My uncle was very dependent on my aunt – you see at 84 years old he did not read or write. She took care of all of the paperwork for the farming business, read all of the mail, did all of the banking, etc. Simple things like knowing how to run the washing machine or microwave were things he did not do. To tell him how by saying “turn the knob to start” didn’t work. You had to show him how, and then give him time to learn. So, after my aunt’s passing, not only was he grieving the loss of his spouse, he had lost his business partner, his written communication, and his confidence.
A couple of weeks after my aunt passed away, my uncle was ready to go to the sale barn for lunch and to interact with friends. While he, my mom, and I were having coffee and rolls and waiting for others to arrive, we were talking. I don’t really remember what the conversation was about, but something was said about going to church on Sunday morning, and out of my mouth came these words – “Would you like to go with us to church on Sunday?” — “I’ll come and pick you up.” (These words were from the Holy Spirit, not from me — I knew better than to ask this man who I’ve known my whole life to go to church — because I knew the answer would be “no” — it always had been, even when I was a little girl.) Well God had different plans. Initially, my uncle said “I’ll have to think about it.” However, by the end of our time together that day, my uncle wanted to know if I really would come and get him for church and I said yes, I would and we set up a time for me to pick him up.
On Sunday we went to church together. I think Pastor had the perfect message for my uncle that morning, but I didn’t know how much he had gotten from that message. Feedback after church was that he liked the minister, we sat too close to the front, and that the organ was too loud. I thought I’d really messed up — more bad comments than good. But again, not my timing, but God’s timing, was at work. He wanted to go back the next week, so my sister picked him up. They sat on the opposite side of the church from the organ, and a little farther back. It was better. My sister continued to pick him up for the next several weeks. Then he began to drive himself. He continued to go and said that his time at church made him feel better and that it was comforting. Once again, God was at work in the details.
Then my uncle began to talk about baptism and that he wanted to be baptized. A few weeks later, he was baptized! God’s perfect timing for him.
Do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you (Matthew 10:19b-20).
I am amazed how God worked in this very sad and challenging situation with a family member, to put the simple words of asking him to come to church with us into my mouth, and then put it in my uncle’s heart to say yes. God’s timing was indeed the perfect timing.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the opportunity given to me to care for my uncle in his time of need. Thank you for your perfect timing to allow your words to be spoken through me and for opening my uncle’s heart to say yes to your invitation of hope and salvation. May we remember that you are always with us as we love and care for our family, friends, and neighbors, and that in your time, you will give us the words we need to share with them. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Nebraska North District
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Thanks from the Gospel Outreach Committee!