Because of Billy Graham – My Jewish Dad is in Heaven

“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Some of the most anxiety producing moments are when we want to share the Gospel with our own family. I always pray that the Lord will open doors with those people whom I meet, so that I will be able to speak of His love and mercy and forgiveness. But those who know us from when we were very young are especially tough. Have you felt that too?

Remember when Jesus said:

“So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house” (Matthew 13:57)

Maybe that is true for all of us. People who watched us grow up, and knew our weaknesses and faults, may feel like “Who is she to be saying these things to me!?”

Being from a Jewish family presented obstacles, to say the least. We were told that Jesus was not our Messiah – period. But my dad would talk about Jesus when I was young. He would say that he was a good man – a prophet – and if the world lived by His teachings, it would be a better place to live. BUT – He wasn’t who he said he was. So, a good man lies?

I used to wonder how my dad knew about the things that Jesus said. We didn’t have any New Testaments in our home. I never asked him, but I did wonder. Perhaps along life’s way, someone planted seeds in my dad’s heart. The story I will tell you in this piece about my dad, would seem to support that he had someone share the Gospel with him when he was younger. Maybe it was during WWII when he felt so vulnerable. Only God knows.

MY JEWISH DAD IS IN HEAVEN

In 1995, mom and dad retired to Florida, like many Jewish older people do. I began to write to dad and send him books about Jesus. I sent him a book called “Betrayed” which I highly recommend to anyone sharing Christ with a Jewish person. I wrote about the Lord and what He was doing in my life. He wrote back to me and told me that he was proud that one of his kids cared about the Ten Commandments. That wasn’t exactly what I hoped he would say, but it was a start. I keep that letter in my Bible, and bring it out occasionally. It is precious to me.

As I said, I had witnessed a lot to him through the years. He would upset the rest of the family by watching Billy Graham Crusades whenever they were on TV. When my mom would tell me this, she didn’t know that I treasured knowing that, and it left a big smile on my face.

Dad had a lot of pain in his neck. Mom called one day and said that dad was considering neck surgery. He was a diabetic and people who have this illness do not heal like regular people. I told mom that I didn’t think it was a good idea. Nevertheless, they went through with the surgery and the doctor botched it badly; so badly, that they had to come back up to Maryland. They were going to see a surgeon at a hospital up here.

When I first saw my dad, I was shocked. The doctor had done something during the surgery, which rendered my father unable to hold his head up straight. It lay on one shoulder. I wept when I saw him like this.

He had another surgery to fix that one, but it did not work. Dad was beginning to physically fall apart. It tore my heart to pieces. He began to experience dementia. The nurses explained that metabolic processes were all messed up because of the diabetes, and all the medicines they had him on. I could tell that he was deteriorating.

Even though I was always considered the lesser of the daughters – especially when I told the family that I believed in Jesus as our Messiah, during his last week on this earth, he would tell my mom that he wanted only to see me. This greatly angered my sisters.

Every night after work, I would go and visit him. One night he told me that I was his strongest daughter. He had never said anything like that to me before. Each time I would visit, I could tell that he was going downhill. Finally, my older sisters decided to withhold food and water, and allow him only a morphine drip. He was placed in a hospice-like room in a nursing home. He didn’t get many visitors. It was almost like they were just waiting for him to die.

On that last night, he was going in and out of consciousness. There was no one there visiting him except for me. I held his hand and asked him to squeeze my hand if he wanted me to lead him to Jesus. He squeezed. I led him in prayer, stopping every so often to ask if he understood the prayer, and he would squeeze my hand. I went through the entire prayer of repentance and salvation.

After I got home, the phone rang and it was my oldest sister. She said that dad had passed away. I knew that he was in heaven with Jesus! Hallelujah!!

Thank You Jesus! I can’t wait to see my dad again.

MARANATHA!