Dad and Charlie

Charlie is in the middle with his arm around Ken in the Cub Scout uniform

My husband Ken had a best friend growing up named Charlie. In a time when kids rode bicycles all over town, explored down by the creek, and played outside until the stars came out, Ken and Charlie did it all together. They were in the same Cub Scout Troop, attended the same elementary school, built model cars together. When Ken’s dad took him fishing and on overnight camping trips in the woods, Charlie came, too. Those trips became even more meaningful after Charlie’s dad died at a young age.

The best friends lost touch after they graduated from high school and went to different colleges. But when Ken attended his high school reunion this year—his first ever—there was Charlie, also attending his first reunion. It’s amazing how much these two men still have in common, and how they’ve bonded again as if the years had never passed. Then Charlie told us a story that touched my heart.

When he was fourteen, Charlie gave his life to Christ. His youth leader told him to think of a special person who didn’t know the Lord, and make a commitment to pray for him every single day. Charlie chose Ken’s dad.

Dad with our son Joshua

Dad was a kind, gentle man who worked as a master woodcarver for an upscale furniture company most of his life. His parents divorced when he was young, and being poor, he didn’t fit in or feel welcome among church-going people. He left school after the eighth grade and went to work to help support his mother and sister. Even after he married and had six children of his own—my husband being the youngest—Dad never did feel comfortable enough or “good” enough to attend church. He was a wonderful, loving father in every way, which is why his family, and “adopted” family members like Charlie, loved him so much. But he never said a word about faith in God.

It’s so hard to find a way to talk to our closest family members about our faith and our need for Christ. We get together every year at holidays like Christmas, and we want so badly to lead our loved ones to Jesus—and we just can’t seem to find a way or the words to do it. And so the years pass, and we always hope there will be a better time, an easier way to say what’s on our heart. And much too often, the end comes before we ever have a chance.

Charlie faithfully prayed for Dad every single day—all through his college years, all through the years that he and his wife were raising their family. He moved to a different city, and he and Ken weren’t in touch any more, but he continued to pray, wondering if his prayers had ever been answered.

Before he died at age 82, Dad went into the hospital for the last time. Charlie’s mother happened to work in the same hospital and, remembering him from their days as neighbors, went up to his room to see him. She asked how he was doing, and Dad said, “I’m at peace. I’ve given my life to Jesus, and I’m at peace.” Charlie’s prayers had been answered at last.

This Christmas season, Charlie’s story challenges me to do two things. First, to never, ever, stop praying for family members to give their lives to Christ, no matter how long it takes. I’m praying that I’ll find the right opportunity this Christmas, and the right words to say in a loving way. And second, I’m challenged to make a commitment, like Charlie did, to faithfully pray for someone who has touched my life, even if I may never know if or when those prayers are answered.

But I do know that we’ll see Dad in heaven, someday. And for that assurance, I say, “Thank you, Jesus.” And thank you Charlie.

17 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this Lynn. My own dad is very close-mouthed about his faith so I’m not really sure if he has made a commitment to Christ. I pray for him continually. May you have a blessed Christmas with your loved ones!

      1. I have so many scraps that I would grab a bunch of scrap fabric and put it in a brown bag and just pick out the fabric as I went along. I always love to use my scgans…briprs back lots of good memories of the quilts I have made for the people I love.Thanks for the opportunity!

    1. Love this encouragement to always pray. Beautiful storySuch a blessing to read your blogThis Christmas I made cookies for my neighbors with my grandchildren. As I brought the cookies door to door, I realized it is so important to reach out beyond our comfort zones with God’s love even in a plate of cookies

    2. WOW!!! thankyou mr adams x.that is some straight talking there lol!i reckon, in all fairness, those specifications are what most gentlemen would agree with.apart from the ‘blonde hair’ opinion, of course. i must say though, if it is “natural” it does look beautiful.now thinking, it all comes down to female’s should really be feminine and take care of themselves. maybe, accentuate positive features and disguise negative features.so, when online dating, if we are going to advertise our snapshots, as it were, we should make the best of ourselves and put up a complimentary pht!tgraph.mmmo?&go;anne 🙂

  2. I needed this wonderful, sweet story today! Thank you so much for posting this; it has been a blessing. And, thank you for the inspiring, wonderful books that you give us. Merry Christmas and a safe, healthy, happy New Year to you and your family!

  3. I love this. What a wonderful story.Thank you for sharing. This would have been my great Grandpa. What an amazing reminder of the goodness of God and the importance of prayer.

  4. Since we’re planning to have a family reunion this Christmas, I appreciate you sharing this story. I can totally relate. So often families grow apart on areas of religion after they leave and have their own families. And if can feel awkward. But prayer solves that.

  5. Great topic! A Silent one, the ever thinking and praying topic. Wanting your friends and family members to know Christ. What a difference for the loved ones left behind after a death in the family. To know your loved one is with Christ because he or she spent time getting to know Him. My Father was someone who left it until his last days. I often wondered how God felt about last minute, saving.
    This Christmas I pray the topic comes up, about living a life for Christ. Church seems to frighten so many. Joining a church and being disappointed. Thanks Lynn, I noticed Christian audio has your books on for 7.49! Merry Christmas.

  6. Thanks for sharing this great story. I am encouraged to keep on praying for loved ones – even when I don’t see how my prayers are being answered. My job is to be faithful in praying and leave the results to a loving Heavenly Father who loves them much more than I do. He has ways of touching them and knows exactly how to orchestrate the process.

  7. Lynn, I enjoyed that story so much. Thank you for sharing it. And the photo of those little boys is just adorable. Great memories for you and your family and friends.

    I’m looking forward to starting your Waves of Mercy. Your characters are always so inspirational and great role models.

    Christmas Blessings to you and yours.

    Merry Christmas!

    Sharon

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