By John Adams, Assistant Director
Why did I wait so long to put my faith in Christ?
After 30 years, Mac’s wife had given up hope that he would put his faith in Christ. After all, Mac was a good man, had worked hard to provide for her and the family, genuinely loved her and had been faithful as a husband. Their children had come to faith in Christ and were raising grandchildren to follow Christ as well. If only Mac would have faith.
It wasn’t as if Mac were hostile to faith or the Church. He encouraged her to attend the country church and women’s Bible study in their small town. He went along with her whenever the church had a special event or a potluck supper, he just didn’t think he needed Jesus. Each of the Village Missionaries who served their country church had befriended Mac and he often enjoyed conversation over a cup of coffee with them at the local diner.
Faith in a hospital bed
Then Mac got sick, really sick. As the Village Missionary pastor at the time, I made the 45-mile drive to the hospital to visit Mac and the family who had gathered at his bedside. On my way to the room, I saw the doctor leave, so I entered moments after his exit. I knocked and entered to find the family gathered around Mac, several with tearful eyes. Mac’s wife asked him as I stepped up to the bed if he was ready to put his faith in Christ. It seemed a bit abrupt to me, so I was surprised to see Mac nod yes. I knew that Mac already knew everything he needed to know to put his faith in Christ, it had always been a matter of the will rather than knowledge. I led Mac in a simple prayer of faith, and when Mac said ‘Amen’ there were tears in his eyes.
It was only then that I learned that the doctor who left had told Mac he had less than two weeks to live, and that he would never leave the hospital. While the shock prompted Mac to pray at that moment, this proved not to be a “fox hole” conversion. Mac told me that day, “if I get out the hospital I am coming to church!” I assured him the church family would love see that day, and that we would be praying for him.
Just a few weeks later, Mac was released and stopped by the parsonage on his way home. When I walked out to the car, Mac repeated his promise to come to church. Within a few months, he had regained much of his strength and began to attend. For almost 3 years until his death, Mac was in church with his wife. He wasn’t just present, the tears at the corners of his eyes revealed that God was touching his heart. Repeatedly, Mac asked “why did I wait so long?” With a smile I assured him it was because he was a stubborn old logger, but that Jesus was even more determined to get Mac into His family.
Results of long investment
Mac’s story represents the long-term result of sending Village Missionaries to serve in rural communities across North America. The details occurred according to God’s timing, but the consistent presence of an active country church and the rural pastors who served that church meant that one was present at Mac’s side when he was ready to put his faith in Christ.
Many communities still need someone to help people like Mac put their faith in Christ. Would you be that person?