y mom was trapped in a prison of alcoholism. I knew she couldn’t escape alone, because I had spent time in that same place.
However, Jesus had set me free from drugs and alcohol, and I had confidence knowing I would spend eternity in heaven.
With my newfound assurance and freedom, I was determined to help my mom receive Christ. I joined a Bible study at my church so I could learn the “right way” to share the gospel with her. I learned how to present the salvation message using five Bible verses and a little dialogue.
I tried this with my mom, who let me know she was not interested. I tried to explain how full life could be with Christ at the center, but I could not get through to her.
After months of trying to make her see, I gave up. I told God, “If You want her saved, then it’s up to You! I can’t make her understand!”
A few days later, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She promised God, “If You give me one more chance, I’ll stop drinking and start going to church.” But she still didn’t ask Christ to forgive her and make her whole.
One night we were both having trouble sleeping, so we stayed up late talking. I silently prayed, “Lord, if You want to use me tonight to share the gospel with me mom, please put the right words in my mouth.”
Then I explained again how none of us can earn our salvation, but how the death of Christ paid our debt for us. All we can do is accept this gift as the payment for our sins.
She looked thoughtful. She said, “Vicki, there is one thing I have never understood. Why did God make Jesus die?”
“God didn’t cause Jesus’ death; we did,” I explained.
“No, I mean, why didn’t God just forgive us automatically? If God is so good and loving, why did He require His Son’s death?”
I didn’t know how to answer; I hadn’t been taught this at the Bible study. I felt panicky, but then a quiet voice told me,
Just be honest. Tell her you don’t understand it all, then explain what you do understand. Trust Me to guide you for the rest.
“Mom, I don’t understand all of the ‘whys,’” I admitted, “but I do know it has always been this way. Blood has always been the only acceptable payment for sin.” I then talked about the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament, and how Jesus became the final sacrifice.
My mom pursed her lips, furrowed her brow, and pulled her blankets up around her. “Well, I’m tired,” she said. “I think I’ll go to sleep now.”
“Yeah, me too,” I said, hiding my disappointment.
Why wasn’t she ready to accept Christ? Maybe she would never be ready.
I went to bed feeling frustrated. The next morning, Mom called me into her room.
“Vicki, guess what! . . . After you went to bed last night, I asked Jesus to come into my heart.”
I felt like leaping into the air and shouting, “Hallelujah!”
My mom’s life changed dramatically. Before, she had been so unhappy, spending most of her time in a drunken stupor. Now the fragments of her life started coming together, and she was at peace.
Meanwhile, she underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, followed by a year of chemotherapy “just in case.”
Mom began living each day to its fullest. She started walking for exercise, soon covering almost five miles most days. She was active in church, enjoyed taking care of her yard, and generally loved life.
Mom experienced two or three years of good health before it was discovered the chemotherapy she had endured “just in case” had destroyed her bone marrow, causing her to develop leukemia. She fought with all of her heart, but in the end it finally stopped beating.
Through my mother’s coming to Christ, I learned the Holy Spirit works through people like me to reveal the gospel to those who are unsaved. God can use anyone or anything to show salvation comes only through His Son, Jesus Christ.
I thank God that my mom isn’t trapped anymore—not by alcohol, sickness, or old age. She is forever free.