I was afraid it would break her heart.
In the summer of 1970 I gave my life to Christ. Within three months I received a call to ministry that was nothing short of miraculous. But when the call came I knew my wife, Shirley and I would have to tell my mother the news. I wasn’t looking forward to it because our one year old son was my mother’s pride and joy. If we were going to go into the ministry it would require us going away to seminary and perhaps never returning home again. I was afraid it would break her heart.
We set up a dinner with her at her home at which time we planned on breaking the bad news to her. It was around Christmas time, which brought added difficulty as Christmas is about family togetherness. We all ate dinner and moved to the living room.
I said, “Mom, something has happened that we need to tell you about. As you know, I have recently become a Christian. Well, the Lord has called both Shirley and I into the ministry. We will be leaving in January to go away to Seminary.”
No more were the words out of my mouth, but my mother dropped her head and began to cry. I looked at Shirley as she looked at me. It seemed that the night was going as we hoped it would not. We waited silently looking at mom and then at each other, both unsure of what to say.
However, when my mother raised her head and took a deep breath, she said, “I have always prayed that one of my children would go into the ministry. You were my last and you were my worst. But God has answered my prayer.”
A little explanation is in order for the “worst” remark. I was indeed a rascal when I was growing up. I thought I had duped my mother concerning how bad I was. Her comment let me know I hadn’t. It also let me know that through her toughest times of trust, she hadn’t given up. She still continued to pray for me.
How bad was I? Certainly no worse than Paul the Apostle! I hadn’t murdered anyone as he had. He called himself “the worst of sinners” in I Timothy 1:15. Since his assessment was recorded in the Bible and God didn’t refute it, he must have indeed, been the worst. But I am claiming second worst. In my eyes, once I surrendered my life to the Lord, I felt as though I had been at least runner-up. Apparently my mother agreed.
But there was something else that I discovered in my mother’s statement. Not only had my mother prayed me into the ministry, she had also prayed me into the Kingdom of God. Her prayer for a minister among her children had been so powerful, they plunged me through the salvation stage right into the ministry stage. At this realization I began to appreciate my mother more than I ever had before, and more than any other person in my life.
I am a Christian today, on my way to heaven and filled with His love, because I have a mother who prayed for my soul.
When I was at my worst, she still prayed.
When it looked like God could never answer her prayers, she kept praying.
When it seemed as though the harder she prayed and the worse I became, she still prayed. She never gave up. It is horrifying to think that if she had, where I would be today; because I was headed down a very slippery slope.
If you have people you are praying for and it seems that God will never and could never answer your prayer. Don’t give up. As it was with me, when it seems that all hope is lost and that the one we are praying for will never surrender to Christ, it may be that just around the corner God has a miracle for that person…and for you.