Mighty to Save

by Diane Nelson

During the Jesus Movement in the late 1960's, it was common practice for many young born-again believers to meet in Poulsbo at a local Christian gathering place to worship and pray late into the evenings.  I had recently been baptized in the Holy Spirit and was reading my Bible for the first time. At seventeen years old, I had fallen in love with Jesus and His word.  At one of the meetings, Ernie, a new friend and believer, asked me to pray for his father, Ernie Sr., who had been an alcoholic since Ernie's birth.  He went on to tell memories of his dad drinking every night until he passed out on the couch along with other hurtful experiences.  I promised, " Yes, I will pray."

Later that week, as I was praying, the Holy Spirit reminded me of my commitment to pray for Ernie's dad. I had learned at a young age to always be honest with God, so I prayed:" God, you know that I feel overwhelmed when I think of praying for Ernie Sr. How can you save a man like that...?" I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to open my Bible, and I turned to Isaiah 59:1, " Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear." My immediate response was," OK, God, you said it and I believe it." So began my prayer life of learning to hear God's voice through the Bible, to respond in faith, and to stand strong until I saw the fulfillment of His promise.

A few years later, much to my surprise, Ernie Sr. became my father-in-law. Fast forward an additional twelve years... Jeremy, our oldest son, came home from first grade at Christian Life School and announced, "Mom, today during chapel my teacher asked if someone had a prayer request, and I told her that we needed to pray for my Grandpa because he's an alcoholic."  I am embarrassed that my first thought was, "Oh God, why did my son's first prayer request at chapel have to be for something so hard?  I have been praying for Ernie's dad for over fourteen years! Thankfully, however, my voice responded, "Oh honey, I am so glad that you prayed for Grandpa. Mom and Dad are praying for him too, so we will all believe God together for this!"  One year later, Ernie quit drinking. I am forever grateful that my son had that experience of answered prayer in his younger years!

Another seven years passed until I saw the complete fulfillment of God's promise to me. I remember walking out of church on a sunny, September morning with Ernie and our sons, when I sensed  God speaking to my heart, "I am going to save Ernie today."  With great joy, I exclaimed, " Ernie, boys, we need to get in the car right now and drive to Grandma and Grandpa's house. God is going to save Grandpa today!"  Back in those days, I did not own a cell phone, so we got in our car and drove the two hours to Bremerton.

Grandma opened the door with a delightfully surprised smile to find her son and family arriving for an unexpected visit. I went directly to find Ernie Sr. He had become very ill during the last several months and his other daughter-in-law had shared with me that he was afraid of what would happen when he died. So I began by gently asking, " Ernie, I hear that you are worried about what will happen when you die. Would you like to know?"  "Yes" he replied.  So I spent the next thirty minutes explaining the good news of the saving power of Jesus Christ. After I was done, I asked if we would like to pray to receive Jesus as his savior. With tears streaming down his face, he repented and received Jesus as his savior. Three short months later, he passed this life to be with Jesus for all eternity.

Finally, dear loved ones in Christ, I wrote this blog to encourage all of you to keep praying for your lost loved ones, no matter how long it takes, and to remind you to stand strong on the promises that God has given you! God is faithful, and His Word will always come to pass!
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