Marie is our pastor’s wife. She and her husband were both saved in their early twenties but I had never heard just how it came about. Unknown to me the Lord had given Marie a very strong desire to speak with my dad after he got sick. Other factors were also to be used by God to help my dad come to that wonderful place of being ready to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
It was now early January 1993 and though I was saved over five years earlier I had never told my dad what had happened. During one of my visits to see him in the hospital he asked me all about it. Others from the church also got to tell him their stories. Many of the Church members dropped in to see him and this blessed him a lot. My job finished in mid-January so I was free to stay with dad day and night during these final weeks.
He was allowed home for a few days and was now unable to walk without help. I tried several local agencies to get the loan of a wheelchair but to no avail. Marie, however, managed to get one and arrived on a Saturday, quite by surprise, with the wheelchair. This was more than a chance visit. She spoke with dad for an hour and it was one of the most important chats my dad ever had in his life.
When Marie had first heard the Gospel during her student years in Dublin she had struggled with some particular issues. She was a staunch Catholic and could not let go of their teachings about Mary and the Mass. She eventually came to see what God says in the Bible and was saved. But I hadn’t realised just how tenaciously my dad was clinging to these two Catholic teachings. He had long ago seen the nonsense of the hierarchy and all the trappings of Rome. In fact he had worked his way through the many man-made rules and traditions of his Church on his own. But these two teachings seemed untouchable.
It was at this time that he told me about the voice that he had heard years earlier during his heart-attack episode. We talked it through and he acknowledged that it could very easily have been one of the nurses trying to reassure him. His conversation with Marie on that Saturday was far more significant, though. Marie had shown him in the Bible how Mary could not be sinless nor could she have any part to play in anyone’s salvation. She herself was a sinner and needed her own Son to save her! My dad saw how wrong it is to pray to her or worship her in any other way. It was like a light going on inside of him. He chatted with me later that day and said, ‘Isn’t it amazing that God came down out of heaven to become a Man and then died for my sins!’ I almost burst into tears on the spot. He was beginning to see the truth.