A Sermon Remembered

by J. Grant Swank, Jr.

It went on and on for years—ten years, in fact. Sarah and her husband, Dick, went all over the country on the back of their motorcycle. He was the pimp; she bringing in their only income by selling her body.

During those years two sons were born to them. Yet they continued moving around from one place to another. Though Dick had a college degree, he did not want to report to work anywhere. So he depended on Sarah to provide the income. He was also addicted to pornography, watching it for hours on end, year after year.

Once upon a time, Sarah had heard a sermon about the Second Coming of Christ. That message stayed in the back of her head for years. But one day the Second Coming sermon sharply cut across her thought patterns. She could not get away from a voice speaking to her innards. The voice kept repeating: "You are not ready if I were to return to Earth. You are not ready if I were to return to Earth."

She knew that voice belonged to Christ. She knew enough about the Bible from her praying mother to understand the biblical truths. They were enough to get hold of her conscience, though that conscience had been seared over the years with a lustful lifestyle.

Added to the lust was the hammering away from her husband that she had to bring in the money. There was no other way. She was the paycheck for the four of them. Therefore, when the voice kept repeating inside her heart, she was fearful for her security, her life,  her tie to her husband.

We were having a Bible study in our New England living room when a stranger walked through the front door. About a dozen had gathered. We welcomed the woman with smiles and Christian greetings. She held a Bible of her own in her hand. Within minutes we were engrossed in reading the Scriptures.

My wife and I kept a small guest book in our home for new folks to sign so that over time we could recollect friends and happenings. I handed Sarah that book. Sarah wrote only her first name and then shut the book.

She returned the next Wednesday evening with Bible in hand. We asked no questions concerning her person. We just entered once again into the study of the Word, providing a friendly atmosphere for all.

The third time Sarah came to the parsonage, she waited till others had left. Then she revealed some details concerning her awkward marriage, her sons, and her wanting to be set free from her sinful lifestyle. With that, we prayed and promised her to continue to intercede on her behalf.

Week after week, Sarah worshiped with us. She brought her sons with her to church. But her husband became quite hostile at her Christian turnabout. There developed an exceptionally tense daily routine he put her through. Finally, she had to leave him for he threatened her physically. She also feared for the boys' safety.

Then came the divorce. He wanted out. She was no longer providing money from prostitution. He would not work, so he decided to go solo, depending on some funds his mother had in store for the two of them. His mother, not given to anything spiritual, went along with her son's actions.

Sarah was left with her boys in a welfare-supported apartment.

Dick's lawyer was able to get him custody of the two boys. Sarah, after all, had a shady past. It did not fit the definition of a respectable mother. Though she was now a Christian, her past kept crippling her case. Dick walked off with the children, leaving New England for parts unknown to Sarah.

Years passed. Sarah continued living for the Lord, worshiping faithfully, befriending new believers, witnessing concerning her salvation through Christ. All along, she prayed that somehow she would come upon her sons again. But as time kept moving along, that seemed increasingly an impossibility.

One day she met a single minister. They ended up writing back and forth. Both sensed the Lord bringing their hearts as one. Therefore they were married in our sanctuary, with loving friends looking on. Sarah, once a call girl, became a pastor's wife.

The years continued to move along, with no word from her sons. All the while, Dick had them on the West Coast. He'd blackened his living quarters so as to watch pornography day and night. The sons were subjected to his evil bent.

One day, Sarah got a phone call from one son, who wanted to leave his father. And then followed a communication from the second son. Eventually, she was reunited with her boys—no longer tots but now young men.

This was the day Sarah had prayed for over and over. The boys were introduced to their stepfather who accepted them in the love of Christ. But one son concluded he did not want anything related to the Christian life. To this day, he continues to live apart from God.

The younger son reached out to Christ's saving grace. But his mind had been damaged. He needed psychiatric treatment because of looming fears and distortions. Nevertheless, the love of God encased him, bringing gradual healing.

Presently, Sarah continues the ministry with her pastor husband. Her older son communicates with her from time to time, having moved several states away. The younger son has married and is attempting to pay the bills on a meager salary, still committed to God.

It all began 25 years ago when Sarah walked into our living room for a mid-week Bible study. We look over time to thank heaven for redemption—mercy extended to one who recalled a Second Coming sermon preached ten years prior.

Through it all, God remained constant in His pursuit of a longing heart.

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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