My Thankful Thursday post this past week mentioned a young man, Austin Foraker, who died tragically last weekend in a drowning accident. He was only 19.
Austin was in Richard's small group for a couple of years and his sister, Kaylee, was in mine for three years. One of their biggest prayer requests that I can remember Kaylee mentioning nearly every week was her step-dad's salvation. He was not a believer and they were both very burdened for him.
Over the last several weeks, I have seen Kaylee's Facebook statuses as she's talked about little things she's noticed in her step-dad's life.... almost as if God was preparing him for something.
Fast-forward to yesterday at the funeral of his stepson. It was a beautiful ceremony as several shared about how Austin had impacted them, including his older brother, Jake. Dwight Martin, Austin's former youth pastor, was last to share and gave the Gospel. That's what Austin would have wanted.
It was then that the Holy Spirit did what only the Holy Spirit can: changed a heart for eternity. Austin's step dad's heart had been tilled. The soil was ready to receive the seed of the Gospel. God had been working for weeks, months, maybe even years through the prayers and testimonies of Austin and Kaylee and it all came together in a beautiful finale when the tragedy that took place last weekend ended in the salvation of a soul.
Austin would have never dreamed that his prayers would be answered this way. Maybe he imagined personally leading his step-dad to Christ. Maybe he pictured him coming to church and walking down the aisle to the front to give his life to Jesus once and for all. However he prayed, I don't think he considered that maybe it would take his own death to lead his step-dad to life.
But God is good like that.
It makes me stop and consider something. Would I be willing pray that even if it takes me giving my life, I would do that so a family member could be saved? What about a friend? What about a complete stranger?
Do I love Christ so much that I am willing to die so that others can live? Do I love souls that much?
Christ did that for me. He did that for you.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." -John 3.16
Only God can turn death into life.