This testimony is one that I enjoy sharing every chance I get. For the past year or so I have been going through one of those wilderness periods, we all go through them from time to time, but come out of them the better for it. During this time it seems God has been reminding me of all He has shown me over the past six year walk with Him.
It concerns an old uncle of mine, Bob Ryder who lived his life believing only in nature, denying God.
It would be at least a year and a half ago now, that I received a phone call from my aunt, Daph, Bob's wife. We converse on the phone on a regular basis, as she is now quite blind being well in her 80's and unable to read her bible, so we spend a lot of time in scripture. She always has more questions than I have answers. Its become a bit of a habit now that my bible is near the phone just in case it is her when it rings. On one occasion though, she was quite panicky and upset. After I calmed her down, she told me that old Bob had suffered a stroke and asked me to pray for him, which of course I said I would.
The next morning while in prayer old Bob came to mind, and when he did I found myself in silence for some time. Now me being me and a Motelier, this was most unusual. My wife Barb tells me at times, that I am never quiet and that I talk too much, nicely of course. But at this moment in time I was stuck for words. When I did finally continue, I said "Lord, I don't know what to say or ask for a man who has denied You all his life, but I do know that it is written in the Psalms that when David slipped or found himself in trouble he cried out, "Lord save me for Your mercies sake." So I continued "Lord, God be merciful to old Bob for your mercies sake, if for no other reason but Your mercies sake, In the wonderful name of Jesus, thank You Lord." I later tacked on as an after thought. "Oh, and Lord, put some born again believers across Bob's path to bring him to the Jesus before his time, thanks again Lord." It was no religious type prayer, I might add, as clumsy a one as I have ever said or so I felt.
Some two weeks or so later I received an excited phone call from my aunt to tell me that Bob had been converted, as she put it. It was some months later that I learnt what had actually taken place. The stroke that old Bob suffered
was so servere it should have killed him according to the doctors who treated him. But that old bushie came out of it with 99% of his faculties. A chap by the name of Ernst from the Gloucester Christian Outreach Center. Gloucester being the town in New South Wales where they live, made himself available to drive my aunt to the hospital on a daily basis. Earnst took this time to witness to Bob of Jesus and eventually lead him in the sinner's prayer.
On the afternoon of the night that Bob died, he had been in a coma some three days at this stage. Ernst lent across the bed and whispered in Bob's ear "Bob where is Jesus now?" Old Bob in a comatosed state raised his hand and tapped his heart twice. It was at this stage that I realised the chain of events had taken place just as I had asked in that clumsy prayer some months before. I am not naive enough to think that I was the only one praying for Bob. I know there were many others praying for him also. But to have things happen just as I asked, rocked me, for want of a better word, for some days after and still does when I think of it today.
Through this experience I came to understand the closest thing to God's heart is the saving of souls, the very reason Jesus came to this earth, just as much as He is interested in our well being. Some times I feel a bit like Israel in this business, placed at the cross roads of the world, the perfect place to evangelise, but finding myself tongue tied at times. I also came to understand that we will not lead people to Christ until they are ready to receive Him. As with old Bob, 86 years of his life passed before he said yes to Jesus a week before he died. God never gives up on people right to the very end. This also brought home to me the fact that He not only hears our prayers but how quickly He answers them when they are according to His will.
27. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
28. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
29. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand."
30. I and My Father are one.
When you look into these verses, there are some very powerful promises from the very mouth of Jesus. We will hear His voice and no created thing is able to take us out of His hand. What has been born of God has been born, and nothing can change the fact that a birth took place. Saved is saved. Amen.