I found out today that Bessie, the lady who led me to Jesus, passed away. She was very old and very ready to meet her Savior. I’m not sure of the exact number of people she led to the Lord, but there were many and I was one.
For me, it happened during “Happy Hour.” This Happy Hour was not at a bar, though. It was at a church and was the name of our Wednesday night children’s ministry. I’m not sure of my exact age … 5 or 6 probably. But, I do distinctly remember Bessie talking about going to heaven and that Jesus was the only way to go to heaven. Well, of course, as a 5/6-year-old boy, I wanted to know for sure that I would go to heaven. When she asked if anyone would like to ask Jesus to be their “Forever Friend,” I raised my hand. On that night I was the only one who did so. We went in to another room in the basement of our church and it was there, with Bessie by my side, that I asked Jesus to be my Forever Friend.
As a young boy, I didn’t know all of the implications of that. But, I can say that, since that time, I have grown to love Jesus. I am not ashamed to say that He has won me over. His love has captured my heart. In a sense, Bessie was a spiritual cupid. She introduced me to the One who is more than a great teacher, more than a good man, more than a self-help specialist … she introduced me to Jesus … a Savior of sinners. And, since that moment in a dusty, old church basement, I have come to be in awe of Jesus. His name has no equal in my vocabulary. I’ve quietly sung His name to my children as I’ve put them to bed at night … “Jesus loves me, this I know.” His name is the one to which I have lifted up every single prayer of my entire life. His name is the one that has rescued me from hell and rescued me from myself. He knows my history. He knows my issues. He knows weaknesses and insecurities. Yet, in a life that has been so up and down for 40 plus years, His name has been the single most consistent word that has ever fallen from my lips. Bessie opened the door to this relationship with Jesus and it has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I’m eternally grateful. She loved Jesus and she never kept His grace to herself. She was always willing to share it with others. I was one of them.