Saved in the Nick of Time

November 3, 2002

SAVED IN THE NICK OF TIME by Ray Pritchard Recently I heard about a man in his 80s who came to Christ shortly before he died. It happened like this. For nearly his entire life, the man had lived without any conscious dependence on God. He wasn’t an atheist or an agnostic and he wasn’t an evangelist for his unbelief. He simply didn’t need God in his life and seemed to be doing just fine without any help from the Almighty. His neighbors knew him as an honest, hardworking man who worked long hours on his farm. He and his wife raised a large family and had the satisfaction of watching their children grow up and establish families of their own. In a sense, he was a typical American success story. He prospered through hard work and a resiliency born of many decades of making a living from the soil. It would also be fair to say he was a tough customer given to salty language. Those who knew him might have called him a crusty personality. The day came when he and his wife moved into a nursing home. After his wife died several years ago, his children and grandchildren and other members of the family paid him regular visits. One of his nephews was a minister who, whenever he dropped by to say hello, always asked the old man if he could pray for him. The answer was always negative. No, he didn’t want anyone praying for him, he didn’t need it, didn’t believe in it. Prayer was fine for other folks but he had gotten through life on his own and he intended to make the final lap without asking God for assistance. That’s how it was, week by week, as his nephew came by. Always glad to see him, some chit-chat about this and that, and always the same “No, thanks” to the offer of prayer. But God has his people in many places. There was a nurse at the rest home who kept telling the old man that he needed Jesus. She told him many times and he repeatedly dismissed her words. One day she said, “Why don’t you go ahead and pray the prayer? It can’t hurt you.” So he did, and in the prayer he opened his heart to the Lord. The proof of his changed life came the next time his nephew paid a visit. The nephew later said he nearly fell over when the old man agreed (for the first time!) to let him pray for him. And always after that, they ended each visit with prayer. The old man died about two weeks ago. After a lifetime of living without God, at the last moment he came to Christ. One of his nieces told me the story and she couldn’t stop smiling. It was God’s grace that saved him, with the help of a nurse who wouldn’t give up.

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