I’ve given this question a great deal of thought: What might someone have said to capture my attention for Christ, and my heart, years earlier -- especially so that my mom and I could have had some time together in the Lord before she died?
Alas, I don’t have a clue. I can’t imagine anything that anyone could have said that would not have simply infuriated me.
Still, my mother got through to me in the end, because through it all, she quietly and subtly continued to witness for Jesus Christ:
- She never made a secret of her commitment to Him, or of the fact that her unwavering confidence in her heavenly destiny rested solely in Him.
- Nor did she ever hide her biblical moral standards.
- She didn’t even comment when I extolled the virtues of being a feminist workaholic and, by implication, blasted the stay-at-home motherhood that had been her life.
Instead, she simply loved me with what came awfully close to the sacrificial, selfless agape love of God (see 1 Corinthians 13).
As a result, when she died, I lost my only earthly source of unconditional and sacrificial love. Which is why it became imperative for me to search so diligently for the truth about eternity. And as God said through the prophet Jeremiah, “you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
But is simply loving your beloved prodigal always the solution?
I think so -- love, together with ceaseless prayer. I know quite a few believers who came to Christ late in life, and in nearly every case it was the combination of prayer, love and heartbreak that brought them into the kingdom of God.
So if there’s a prodigal in your life, that’s my recommendation: pray without ceasing, make no secret of your beliefs, and love your prodigal into the kingdom of God.
Don’t worry if you don’t see fast results. As the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3, there’s one who plants, and another who waters, but it’s God who gives the increase – and this can all take a while! Just relax and remember that His timing is perfect.
In fact, don’t be concerned if you don’t see results in your lifetime. My mother did not, after all … but if she doesn’t yet know what impact she had on me, she will one happy day.