I found out a couple of days ago that our neighbor who lived on the 8th floor of our building had died. The boys knew her as Babusya (grandma) Maria. She was always so nice to us and willing to talk. She spent many summer evenings sitting on the bench below our kitchen window with the boys and some of the other neighbors. She walked with a cane, so I remember helping her up the stairs when the elevator wouldn’t be working. She was always cheerful and always laughed at all the silly things Joshua would do on the playground.
Today they carried Babusya Maria from our apartment building on the way to the cemetery. I don’t know if she was sick, but she seemed well enough the last time I saw her. It made me realize how much of a mist or a vapor our lives really are as we are here one day yet vanish the next. We have been reminded of it several times since coming here. To get back home once, Joshua and I had to walk around the body of a man who had drowned in the river. Another time, all of us sat on the bus watching as they began to take away the body of a man who it appeared had just collapsed and died while walking in the parkway. Even now, a girl from our church is suffering from a terminal brain disorder. Death is a simple fact of life here.
I think Babusya Maria was a believer, but I don’t know. I never took the time to find out. We talked about the weather, how beautiful the river is, and how the boys are doing in school, but I never ventured to speak about what really matters, Christ. I guess I felt my language skills weren’t up to the task or maybe since she appeared healthy I didn’t feel a particular urgency to discuss salvation. Whatever the reason, I missed that chance.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
1 Peter 3:15
А Господа Христа святіть у вашик серцях, і завжди готовими будьте на відповідь кожному, хто в вас запитає рахунку про надію, що в вас, із лагідністю та зі страхом.
1 Петра 3:15
I have to ask myself if I was prepared to give the reason for my hope. I know in my heart that I was prepared to give that answer, but Babusya Maria never asked me to. The reality of death and those perishing around us without having known Jesus should be a call to boldly share the Word of God. Yes, be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, but why wait to be asked? Simply tell them, possibly before it’s too late, in anyway you can, that Jesus is the reason for the hope that you have.
I want to be able to say that I lived my life as Paul did in the last verse of the book of Acts. Luke tells us about Paul,
Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
І проповідував він Боже Царство, та з відвагою повною беззаборонно навчав про Господа Ісуса Христа!