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The chairs sat empty and motionless. Everything on their porch covered now by tarps as if put away for eternity. No more conversations over hot coffee in the early afternoon. No more companionship. No more time.
Over the late summer months into the early fall, often after work I would pull into the post office parking lot to drop off the latest pressing event or thank you. Glancing over at the pristine grayish-white trailer just across the road, I would spot an elderly couple, probably in their mid eighties, sitting in their metal chairs watching the people and cars go by.
A lump would form in my throat as I noticed they were looking back at me longingly, as if to say, “Come over. We need you.”
“Too busy,” I thought. “Got to go.” Besides…they might think I’m weird if I walked over and said hello, or “Do you know Jesus?”
Day after day, week after week, they sat. I glanced. They smiled. Something inside me kept pounding my thoughts…”Go talk to them.”
“Not now, Lord.”
The winds began to change. A crispness enveloped the once warm summer sun, and the urgency welled up at a quickening pace. “Go over.”
“No. Not now, Lord.”
Sometime around the end of October, I don’t remember the exact day, it happened. It was ordinary...just another day out of my busy schedule. I drove to the post office in a rush trying to get through my checklist of to-dos before I could relax in my comfy surroundings.
The air had a definite chill. Something definitely was different; something had changed.
I pulled up in the drive and noticed the flashing lights of an ambulance and a fire truck. It wasn’t a wreck or burning building; only a solemn picture of a frail, snow-haired man being whisked away. In my heart I knew it was forever, and the grief of it all shook me to the core.
Hoping I was wrong, day after day I looked for the couple on the porch, hoping to see some sign of normalcy. They did not appear. No sign of anyone. Death had come to the little trailer across the street.
I stuffed it. For days I tried to dismiss the earlier calls beckoning me to pay them a visit. I didn’t like the implication that I was Peter’s twin, denying my Lord as if I had never known him.
Instead of a cock crow, I heard about a phone call. The newly widowed woman had called our church asking for food, begging for hope. I was undone.
I knelt in prayer the morning following - my conviction coming to a head. The dam had been breached and tears flowed down my cheeks in wretched abandon. I had failed my God. I had stifled hope…Christ’s hope, and had allowed this precious soul go without even a word from my lips about an eternity awaiting.
How wretched am I? Yet in that moment a still, small voice invaded my thoughts, “I forgive you.” That’s all it took. I was restored, yet reminded of a lesson learned.
So, with my own mental lashing still fresh on my mind and because I care deeply about you my readers, I need to ask you a simple question. If you were to die today and stand before the Lord, and He were to ask you, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” what would you say?
Many would say, “Well, I’m a good person.”
“I’ve kept the 10 Commandments.”
“I go to church.”
“I was baptized.”
Please stop and listen for a moment. None of these things will save you. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
We know that every one of us has a sin problem. We’ve all done something that separates us from the love of God. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
The Bible goes on to tell us that “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
There is nothing we can do to repair the brokenness between us and God. So, God made a bridge…a way…His perfect Son, Jesus.
Jesus came to earth, lived a sinless life, was put to death on a cross taking your sins and mine upon Himself, was placed in a grave and arose on the third day defeating hell, death and the grave!
So what do you and I do? First, you must admit you are a sinner and in need of forgiveness. Second, you must be willing to turn from your sins (repent). Third, you must believe that Jesus was who He said He was, that He died for your sins and rose from the grave, and fourth, you must through prayer invite Jesus to come in and take control of your life. Simple, really.
The Bible tells us that “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
I pray that I will not make the mistake again of allowing someone to slip into eternity before I know I have given them crucial information….HOPE.
I choose to be Peter’s twin – the better half, when he stood boldly proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ even in chains and imprisonment. My Lord beckons me to be a mouthpiece of His grace and that’s what I intend to do.
Have you made that decision today? If so, are you listening to that small little voice within that says, “Go tell”?
Don’t wait. Let God transform you into a mighty Peter – a man of boldness and a picture of restoration.