"Sally died last night." Stunned, I hung up the phone.
Oh Jesus, I failed. I didn't tell Sally about you, and now it's too late. Please forgive me. Not sure how to handle the news, I kept busy with my usual routine around the house. I was relieved to find Clark and Debi playing with Legos and Scott napping in his room. What if I get breast cancer? I could die and leave my children just like Sally did. Sadness and fear began to seep into my heart.
Sally and I had met the previous year, and we soon became friends. We lived only a block apart, and it wasn't long until our two five-year-old boys, Clark and Billy, began playing together. Before school started that fall, Sally found a lump in her breast. She was admitted to the hospital for a mastectomy. After chemotherapy, she returned to her normal routine, and it appeared that her battle for survival was won. But by the next spring, the dreaded disease returned.
When her second bout with cancer began, I knew that I had to find a way to tell Sally about Jesus and His love for her. The realization of what it meant to be dying without the Lord and leaving small children began to sink into my understanding.
Finally, the time came, and I prayed that the Lord would give me the right words. When I arrived, family members were busy tending to Sally, so I had no time alone with her. Disappointed, I was determined to try again, but Sally died the next evening.
Prior to the funeral, I spent a great deal of time in prayer. The fear of dying and leaving my three young children tore at my mind, stealing every grain of peace. My expectation was to live to see my children accept the Lord as their Savior, to enjoy their school years, to rejoice with them upon graduation from college, to cry at their weddings, and to play with my grandchildren. But die? No! Not in my thirties. But Sally had died, and now I faced the fact that I could, too.
An evangelical minister officiated at the funeral service. I listened intently as he told about Sally's last hours. "I want all of you to know," he said, "that Sally is with her Lord. She accepted Jesus as her Savior before she died." I felt like shouting for joy right there in the funeral home. Praise exploded in my heart.
As the days went by, the burden for Sally's children became more intense. One day when I was pouring out the burden of my heart to the Lord, I felt a peace flow over me. "Bring the children into your home, and teach them about Me." This thought was dropped into my mind. It was like hearing another person speak, but in my mind, not my ears. As I continued to kneel there a plan began to form. I would open my home during one week in the summer for a Vacation Bible School. I would invite Billy and his younger sister Carrie as well as the neighborhood children to come for a few hours each day to learn about the Lord.
Immediately, I got up and called my pastor. I told him about Sally and what had just taken place. He said the church would provide everything I would need.
The first morning of Neighborhood Vacation Bible School, I stood at my window watching for the children. The parents had seemed open to the invitation, but I knew that didn't guarantee their children would attend. Then I saw them. Children came from every direction, including Billy and Carrie. I was overjoyed.
During the years that Neighborhood Vacation Bible School met in my home, many children accepted Jesus as their Savior, including my own children and Billy and Carrie. God had made a way for Sally and her children to come to Him.