Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Verla’s first prayer

Verla didn’t know what to think when a group of Mennonites came to sing for her husband. Neither did they for that matter; they did not know the people in this house.  However, someone had suggested they sing for this dying man and so they did. Verla and the children stayed in another room until the strangers left. They came back several times before cancer took her husband and she lost a little of her uncertainty.

When the Mennonite congregation had Vacation Bible School the next summer, they invited Verla’s children and they went. The connection to these people grew a little stronger, friendships began to form.

One day Verla noticed a sadness in one of her new friends and asked why. Her friend said she had been thinking about the future and about how she and Verla would not be together in heaven unless something changed. Verla asked what she needed to do to change that and her friend explained a little about repentance and the way to find forgiveness from God.

“I’ve never prayed in my life, I don’t know how,” Verla responded. “Is it OK if I just call God on the phone?”

Putting her fist beside her face like a phone receiver, with thumb and little finger extended, she began: “Hello God, this is Verla. I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” and began to confess the things she had done which she knew were wrong, finally breaking down in sobs. When the sobbing had ended, Verla knew that God had heard, and answered.

Now if Verla was going to be a Christian, there was not going to be anything half-hearted about it. None of her clothes were fit for a Christian to wear, so she asked the sisters of the congregation to help her make a whole new wardrobe. The change in Verla’s life was almost too much at first for the four teenagers in her household, but gradually they accepted the change in their mother.

Her daughter began to pray for a new dad. Someone suggested that she should rather pray for a husband for herself. Yet the time came when Abe, a lonely widower whose children were all grown, proposed to Verla. Her children were afraid that this tired, soft-spoken old man would be no match for their fiery mother.

Yet the marriage was a happy one. Abe was rejuvenated, learning to laugh and enjoy life more than ever before. Verla relaxed in the security of Abe’s love and became a gentler and happier person than she had been before. (The daughter did find a husband, too, or rather was found by him.)

Abe & Verla’s happiness lasted 12 years, then Alzheimer’s took Verla away from Abe. Abe died two years later, but Verla lasted eight more years. She quietly breathed her last a week ago and the funeral was three days ago. The minister who had baptized her 35 years ago came to preach the funeral sermon. The children from both sides shared many happy memories, and many humourous happenings, that had marked the marriage of their mother and father. All because one day Verla decided to call God on the phone.

13 responses to “Verla’s first prayer

  1. Eden February 14, 2014 at 20:10

    What a wonderful story!

  2. Bob Goodnough February 14, 2014 at 21:10

    Thank you. She was a pretty special person.

  3. brett April 1, 2014 at 20:34

    Hi Bob. Could you post a couple of scriptures that plainly state that heaven is the home of the redeemed. I noticed in the story that the mennonite woman mentioned that they wouldn’t be able to be in heaven together unless Verla made a change. Just curious where the scriptural evidence for this would be located. Thanks

  4. Bob Goodnough April 1, 2014 at 21:09

    John 14:2 -3 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
    Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
    Acts 7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

    • brett April 4, 2014 at 21:25

      Thanks Bob, but those scriptures don’t say anything about followers of Jesus living in heaven for eternity. I believe heaven exists, but where are we told that heaven is our future home?

  5. Bob Goodnough April 5, 2014 at 11:02

    “And so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). If this is not in heaven, then it means that God won’t be in heaven either. Right?

    • brett April 5, 2014 at 21:28

      Well, I believe that “Lord” in this scripture is referring to Jesus, who, of course, isn’t God. So, the scripture basically says that we will be with Jesus, but where will he be? The meek shall inherit the earth. The holy city comes down from heaven. There is a new earth. Why a new earth if it isn’t to be inhabited? Seems very possible that believers will spend eternity on a new earth.

  6. Bob Goodnough April 5, 2014 at 22:09

    Was that God the Father or God the Son in the garden?

    • brett April 5, 2014 at 22:31

      Ha, I don’t know anything about a “god the son”? I only believe in one God. Jesus said that the Father was the only true God and Paul said that we have one God, the Father. John 17: 3 and 1 Corinthians 8:6. I’ll choose to believe in the same God that Jesus believed in and prayed to.

  7. Bob Goodnough April 6, 2014 at 09:17

    I also believe in one God, but I don’t try to reduce Him to the measure of my mind.
    John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
    John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
    1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

    • brett April 6, 2014 at 16:37

      Hi Bob. If you have time, do some research and you’ll find that 1 Timothy 3:16 isn’t translated correctly in the KJV. As far as John 14:9 is concerned, we know that no man has seen God at any time, so when Jesus said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father”, it would seem clear that he wasn’t telling Philip that he himself was the Father. Philip would have seen with spiritual eyes that the Father was dwelling in Jesus and doing the work through him.
      Before Abraham was, I am? To you that says that Jesus is God? I must admit that I’ve never understood how that conclusion is reached.

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