Index Page   The Lord Took Me

 

Mother

From the moment that the pastor entered the pulpit my mother did not turn her eyes from him. With a desperately hungry heart she followed every word of the sermon. This had been worked out most conscientiously and then written down in full. Mother listened intently and drank it into her thirsty heart. Yet she never really grasped and believed the glad tidings of the Gospel. The burden which pressed upon her as long as we knew her remained upon her, tormenting her by day and by night, year in and year out: ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’

Every morning she rose long before dawn, lit the fire in the kitchen stove, and then fell upon her knees in front of the paraffin bow in the larder and cried unto God in desperate travailing prayer for herself and her family. It was only many years later that we came to know some of the deep anguish she suffered in her passionate yearning to gain salvation for her children, her husband and herself. Thus she travelled through life, a mother heavily burdened with concern over her thirteen children. Through the longs hours of the day and during the dark hours of night she fretted over their spiritual state and sought for their salvation. On one occasion her son Gerhard came to her in the darkness of deep spiritual distress and begged her to point for him the way to peace with God. ‘My boy’ she answered sorrowfully, ‘I’m in the same plight myself.’

When she was nearly seventy years old, God decreed for my mother a death bed of long drawn out suffering. I was in Germany at the time, but was told of the unspeakable distress of her soul. She did not know where to turn in her anguish until, at last, the light broke through. She asked Jacob to read to her. Eventually, he happened upon the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, ‘I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.’

Then something inscrutable took place within her heart, bringing to her tired soul perfect calm and joy. Through this passage the Spirit of God wrought a work of grace to give her that for which she had sought all her life: peace through faith in her Lord and Saviour. From that day onward the light shone steadily in her heart and the Lord was to her One of Whom she said, in all simplicity, ‘Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon the earth that I desire beside Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.’

From that day my mother left the salvation of her children confidently in the hand of the saviour, and died in peace, at that time misunderstood by all her children including her Jacob.

All her lifetime had had been in constant fear for each of her children individually. Whatever they did, the threat of condemnation stood always before her eyes. Sometimes, on a Sunday after the services, her sons did not return immediately, but enjoyed a ride to the neighbours. On such occasions the anxiety that clutched her heart was not for the wild horses, nor because of the rivers and thunderstorms, her dread was primarily for their eternal well-being. The holy and severe judge was, to her, an ever-present reality.