Last Saturday I drove with my mom to Memphis to be with my aunt (by marriage) and her side of the family at the funeral of her dad, Mr. Middleton (Jimmy). Jimmy was eighty-eight years old and was in the later stages of Alzheimer's, so he was living with his younger daughter and her family, while his wife remained at the retirement community where they had lived together. He was a well-loved and respected business owner and was a World War II veteran.
One night Jimmy's son-in-law spent some time talking with him about God and about dying and about heaven and asked Jimmy what he thought about all of it. Even though Jimmy was suffering from the awful effects on his memory, that night he was lucid and was having a normal conversation. Rick asked Jimmy if he believed in God and if he would like pray to receive Christ. Jimmy said that he would, so they prayed together.
After he prayed with Rick, Jimmy said, "I don't know if Jackie (his wife) knows this. I want us to write this down so I can tell her tomorrow!" At the funeral home, on the table of other pictures and memorabilia at the funeral home, we had seen a page of handwritten prayers, and I had wondered what that was about. Apparently, those were the prayers that Rick wrote down for Jimmy to be able to remember to tell his wife about his salvation experience.
I had remembered my aunt's sister (Rick's wife) telling me a long time ago that she didn't think that her parents were saved, so when I heard that Jimmy had passed away, I was sad about that and wondered if that was still the case. You can imagine how joyful and peaceful it made me feel when I heard Rick tell that story at the funeral!
Praise God that He is able to get through to a man who's memory has faded and who was so close to death! I'm so thankful for the hope that we have in Christ and that even when we think a situation is hopeless, God gives us hope! As the minister who was presiding over the funeral said at the end: It was Jimmy who preached the sermon today!