One of my most memorable Thanksgivings happened about 15 years ago.
In my family, Thanksgiving was always a quiet celebration. Long distances separated us from most of our extended family, so holiday gatherings usually consisted of my parents, my two siblings, and me. On this particular Thanksgiving, it was the first time we actually went around the dinner table, taking turns sharing with everyone what we were thankful for. Strange that we never participated in this very common tradition before. But, on that night, we truly had something to be thankful for. We had sat together at that table numerous times as a family, but on that day, we gathered as part of a different family, God’s family.
It didn’t happen all at once. The Lord saved me first. It was lonely. My mother accused me of trying to break up the family, and breathed threats of disowning me. A couple of years later, when my brother expressed a desire to come to church with me, I was hesitant. Surprisingly, my parents didn’t protest, but I could tell they were watchful. My brother soon came to know The Lord, and my sister followed. Certainly I was thankful that God saved me and my siblings, but my heart continued to ache for my parents. Fearful of another heated confrontation with them if I brought up spiritual things, I decided to write them a letter.
I wrote the letter, intending for them to read it during the last days … something like “If you’re reading this and you’re wondering where I am and why the world is the way it is, go to the book of Revelation.” They were so against Christianity that I didn’t think I would see the day when God would soften their hearts. In my lack of faith, I just fast-forwarded to the end, thinking they may never turn to Christ. I sealed the letter, wrote “To Mom and Dad” on it, and placed it in between some of my books. A few days letter, I had second thoughts about the letter and decided to tear it up. I looked between books and between pages, but that letter was nowhere to be found. I panicked, wondering if my parents found it. They made no mention of it, and eventually, I forgot about it.
At this special Thanksgiving dinner, when it was my turn to share, I told my family how thankful I was that God had mercy on each and every one of us. From the day I was saved, I prayed everyday for each of them, and sitting at that table with me were four answers to my prayers. I told them about the letter that I wrote, and expressed how grateful I was that God saved my parents before the end times. “I lost the letter, but it doesn’t matter now anyway.”
To my surprise, my mom told me she found the letter on the floor while she was cleaning. By God’s providence, it fell out from between the books. They read it and were fearful. They thought I had been brainwashed by my church. But, they wanted to remain calm about it, so instead of ordering me to stop going to church, they decided to come with me … to check it out and make sure I was ok. Sunday after Sunday, they came. They were there to try and rescue me, but God had other plans. He rescued them.
Is there someone that you’re praying for? Someone that you are longing to see the fruit of salvation manifested in their life? Perhaps you’ve been praying for a long time. Don’t grow weary in praying. We have a great and merciful God, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Perhaps you are the one running from God, the object of someone else’s fervent prayers. Don’t wait another minute. Turn from the broad path that leads to destruction, and He will show you the narrow path that leads to life.
“Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
(Photo credit 1: Sgt. Pepperedjane)
(Photo credit 2: Freckled Moon)