The long hallway reminded me of dozens of others. I’ve spent many hours in nursing homes, and they all have the same familiar look to me. Rooms decorated with a few fragments from the past. Fading photographs of happier times are tacked up here and there. We passed by one room of an elderly married couple. A photograph of them as a younger couple was attached to the outside wall of their room. Their smiles caught in the camera’s quick shot greeted those who passed by and reminded me of how quickly time passes.
How soon the photographs of today will turn to past memories.
We made our way to the very last room in the hallway. It had been almost two years since I’d seen my uncle, he lived a few states away and his failing health has taken his ability to travel. He’ll be ninety years old soon. His mind seems as sharp as when I first met him.
We spent most of the day listening as he recounted stories of the past with accurate precision and complete detail. His knowledge of historical facts dating back hundreds of years is impressive. He’s always been a history buff. His beloved hobby for the past several years was catching shots of eagles that nest in the lake near his home. He’s an extremely intelligent and interesting man and he knows he’s living out his final days. The cancer has almost won its battle and my uncle has resigned himself to that fact.
But cancer is not my uncle’s real enemy, unbelief is his greatest threat.
Through the years my uncle has enjoyed “debating” with me over the existence of God. He’s come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ was a literal, historical figure, but is convinced that He was only a good teacher or a prophet. He isn’t too impressed with the depiction of God in Scripture, and has a distaste for the Old Testament’s record of bloody engagements. He prefers to live in seclusion and “in control” of his own destiny and says he has no fear of death.
Only God can open my uncle’s eyes to His reality, but we felt compelled to make the long drive this week to spend the day loving on him and sharing the gospel with him one last time. He listened respectfully, engaged me in some of the same theological and philosophical debates that we’ve shared in the past, but in the end, He remained unmoved, at least outwardly.
He clutched my hand tightly as I prayed for him before we left that evening. My husband said that as I shared truth, my love for my uncle was evident. My prayer is that Christ’s love and care for him will become even more evident than my love. I pray that my explanation of God’s rescue plan for his soul will return to his thoughts in the long night hours and the lonely days. Although his eyesight is failing, we left him with a copy of the classic work by C. S. Lewis: Mere Christianity. My mom brought it as a gift for him, hoping that he would read it and be persuaded by Lewis’ testimony.
Only God can bring the grace for repentance and salvation, but He uses His followers to tell the good news and spread the light of the gospel. That is our mission—to fill the earth with His glory.
Will you pray for my uncle?
Who are you sharing the gospel with that we can join you in praying for their salvation?
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