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The right time for a miracle - James C. Bell

Thanks to the "faith" program, my two friends and I were now a team.

We had been preparing for visits to people in our community, to tell them of Jesus Christ, that He loves them and wants to have a relationship with them. The three of us, Patsy, Jerry and Jim, had the names and addresses of individuals we could visit and share with them about Jesus Christ and His desire to know them.

During the first few weeks of the semester, it seemed all the folks we visited were already Christians. We enjoyed sharing our testimonies of how Jesus saved us and what our salvation meant to us. In some cases, we thought the people were not saved because of their answers to our questions but when we shared the gospel with them, they remembered that long ago they had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.

Of course, we rejoiced with them and assured them of their salvation but we had such a strong desire to find someone who had not accepted Christ so we could, with the power of the Holy Spirit, see them come to Jesus.

One evening, we found the name and address of a family who lived just a few miles from our church, and the card said they had requested a visit from our church. As we always did, just as we got in the car, we stopped for a few moments and prayed for the names we were to visit. The names were Charles and Mary. They had two children, Chuck and Jane, who were eight and 10 years old.

In our prayers, we always asked God to forgive our sins and to remove anything in our lives that might be offensive to Him. Then, we asked God to prepare their hearts for our visit, and to be at home and willing to talk with us.

We drove to the address and when we arrived, the house looked dark and we were sure no one was home. Jerry said, "I see a dim light inside. Let's go and ring the doorbell. Maybe someone is at home."

As we pushed the doorbell, we heard footsteps inside and in just a moment, an old man opened the door. He smiled as we told him we were from the church but then he said, "I'm sorry, but the time is not right. Please come again."

At that, he shut the door and was gone. We went on to other addresses and were able to talk with one family who said they were Christians and would come to our church soon.

Over the next few weeks, we faithfully went to Charles' and Mary's home and were met with the same response from the nice man: "The time is not right, but please come again."

We didn't know just what to think about this response, and even if he was sincere, but we said we would try just once more for we felt the Holy Spirit was guiding our visits.

The next week was our last visit of the semester and we prayed: Dear Lord, we have visited faithfully for weeks now without a single salvation experience -- please bless us tonight. As we approached the door and rang the bell, a pleasant lady came to the door and welcomed us warmly. She said, "I'm so glad you've come. We have just finished dinner and the time is right."

We wondered about that remark as we were introduced to Charles and Mary and their two children, Chuck and Jane. We shared our testimonies and asked the key question: What do you understand it takes for one to go to heaven?

They each gave a works answer: "Well, we have been good, we go to church and try to treat everyone right." Jim asked if we could share how the Bible answers that question and they all agreed they would like to know. Patsy and Jerry each shared a portion of the gospel as they seemed to hang on every word.

Jim asked, "Do you each understand what we have shared with you?"

They all said yes and Jim said, "Will you allow me to lead you in a prayer where you will ask God to forgive your sins in Jesus Christ name and to give each of you His gift of Eternal Life?" They said, yes.

Jim prayed and they all said the prayer sincerely, repeating each sentence after him. We all rejoiced together for their salvation and made plans to meet them the next Sunday at church. Then Jim said, "May I ask you a question? We wonder if the gray-haired gentleman who answered the door on our previous visits is home."

Mary said, "No one else lives here, but that sure sounds like my uncle John. He died several years ago and left Charles and I this home. You must have been at a neighbor's house. Here is his picture."

And as we looked at his smiling face, she said, "He was such an angel!"