James 5:16 says, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." As many of you know, my grandfather (my mother's stepdad) has been battling a very deadly form of bone cancer since before Natalie was born. We went to visit them when I was just first pregnant with Natalie because we did not think he was going to live through the first round of chemo. Well, nearly three years later he is still living. We have been praying, and praying hard, for the Lord to spare his life long enough for him to accept Christ as his savior.
As I realize that not all of my blog readers share my faith, I feel as though I should explain. As Christians, we believe that the Bible is the only source of truth. Romans 10:13 says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." This whole "being saved" business is quite confusing for those who are not Christians. I thought I would take a moment to explain, from Scripture, what this means.
First, everyone on this earth, no matter how good we try to be, is a sinner. Romans 3:10 says, "There is none righteous, no not one." Romans 3: 23 says "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." The only way to reach the "glory of God" and, therefore, eternity in heaven, is to be perfect. Of course, this is impossible. We have all sinned, and therefore all "fallen short."
Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death." Wage, of course, means "payment." Because we are all sinners, we deserve to die. This refers to both a physical death, which we will all some day experience, and a spiritual death, which is an eternity in Hell. The rest of Romans 6:23 says "but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Eternal life, not on this earth, but in Heaven.
Romans 5:8 explains further: "But God commendeth (showed) His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." When the "fullness of time" was come, God sent Jesus, who was fully God and yet fully man, to die on the cross for our sins. After three days in the tomb, Christ raised himself from the dead. When He was on the cross, He took our sins upon Himself. He paid the penalty for our sin by dying, even though He was perfect, and God turned His back on Christ for that moment.
Romans 10:9 says "THat if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." That is what "being saved" is all about. Understanding that you are a sinner, believing and accepting that Christ died to pay sin's penalty, and confessing with your mouth that you accept the Lord Jesus and believe that He rose from the dead.
Last night my grandpa did just that. After three years of hard praying (and many years prior to that of praying too) my grandpa became a Christian. My grandma, his wife, has been saved for many years, so I can only imagine what a relief that is to her. I do not know all the details, but I do know that we had gotten a call that there was a good chance my grandpa was in the hospital for the last time earlier this week. I started praying, begging the Lord to save him. My prayer was different this time - it wasn't for his health. This cancer, baring a miracle, will kill my grandpa. We know that. I was praying for his spiritual state.
Things didn't look that good at the beginning of the week. Whatever is wrong with him (which they still don't know) was interfering with his sanity. My grandma's pastor spent some time with him, and then he started acting crazy before the pastor could return. His sanity must have returned in the last day or so, and last night my grandma's pastor spent several hours with him, and he finally surrendered and allowed Christ to save him.
The miraculous thing is this. My mom said that within hours of him making that decision, the doctors were able to take him off of the heavy-duty oxygen and put him on just the regular oxygen that he has been on for a while. Not only that, but he was able to sit up and get out of bed to take a few steps!
Does this mean that getting saved automatically fixes physical problems? No, but it does show the power of God. I do not know what the future holds for my grandpa. I don't even know if I will see him again on this earth before he goes home to Christ. But I do know this. I will see him again someday when we all are united in heaven. With that knowledge, I can rest.
Praise the Lord.
For those who want to see them, here are a few pictures.