Picture the German guy with the dry and droll sense of humor, the one with wonderful stories to tell, the one who treated children as people of worth. Kids were to be seen and heard and listened to. He was the one who spent time with the neighbors that the rest of the neighborhood avoided, totally. Yet he had never asked to be forgiven of his sins and was breaking God’s heart like we all have. Maybe he thought his “good deeds” would earn him a way into heaven. The Bible doesn’t say that’s how it works.
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.(NIV)
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (NIV)
Yes, he went to a Bible study and read to Mom from the Bible each night. We thought that was because he really wanted to please her.
Ding dong. There were two little neighborhood girls at the front door. Mom was back in the kitchen fixing lunch but could hear those eight year olds.
“Mr. Schacht, if you were to die today, would you go to heaven?”
“Well, ahhh, yes, I believe I would.”
“Why would you go to heaven, Mr. Schacht?”
“Well, because I asked Jesus into my heart.”
“Thanks for taking to us, Mr. Schacht and we are glad you’d go to heaven!”
Mom dropped a few pots on the floor and came into the living room in a BIG hurry, “Richard, when did you ask Jesus into your heart?”
“Ahh, it was when we lived in Hawaii, about either years ago. You remember that Bible study? Well, I decided I had too much sin in my life…..”
Shortly after this moment of truth with the neighbor girls Dad decided it was time to be baptized. This meant talking to their pastor and discussing scripture so the pastor was sure that the person being baptized really knew what they were doing before baptism.
Eight years and this German gentleman hadn’t told ANYONE in the family (we can safely say that stubborn and silent were his strong suit, when it came to “personal” things, like his relationship with Jesus)
At Christmas that year I couldn’t let this rest. We had heard Mom’s version of this story but never Dad’s so in front of the rest of the family (grandkids who were young adults, my sister, mom and dad) I casually asked him about being baptized and what he told the pastor.
With that prompting all his “testimony” finally came out. What a lot of smiles there were around that Christmas dinner table.
A number of years later, when Dad went from “time” into “eternity”, the Lord Jesus very graciously spoke to the immediate family again.
I wrote this prayer in my journal shortly after Dad’s memorial service:
Lord God, thank You that Dad “saw” and was excited about angels before he went to see you. Thank You for assurance of his salvation for each one of us, after I prayed to ask You for this without telling any of the rest.
Mick said he “saw” Dad in heaven, young and whole and strong like the photo of me with dad and the fish (dad was 36 then)
I got quiet time scriptures the day he died all about faith and not works, You and not us and how we were “but flesh” – I certainly knew You had paid the price and Dad had asked to be forgiven.
Mom saw Dad smiling when she spoke of Jesus, he hadn’t been able to smile for months due to the Parkinson’s “mask” and his “frozen” face. He smiled and took a last breath and went to be with You!
Ahhh, Lord God, You love us so much and are right there to walk us through. Even in the death of a beloved Dad and Husband. Thank You cannot begin to say what is in my overflowing heart.
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with with proper credits.