My mother ran away from home at the age of sixteen. Up to that point in her life she had experienced nothing but cruelty, abuse and rejection, especially from her mother. She often heard the words, “If it were not for sending my soul to hell, I’d kill you.” Her mother did try. Several times her brother rescued her when she was thrown into an irrigation ditch to drown. She was not allowed to eat with the rest of the family and had to sneak around to steal or scrounge for food. She was severely beaten if she were caught reading a book or studying for her school assignments.
One day, out of despair, she decided it was time to end her personal hell on earth. She made plans to jump from a high balcony. Ready to make her jump, she began to climb over the railing. Suddenly, she felt an arm around her waist pulling her back. She turned around to see who had caught her in the act, but no one was there. Again she climbed the rail. Again she felt a restraining arm. On her third attempt, the arm was there again. This is so strange, she thought. It must be because I’m a coward. Giving up, she walked away.
She found work as a maid in the home of a wealthy family. A kind next door neighbor invited her to church. There it was at a little wooden altar that she found someone who dearly loved her, the Lord Jesus Christ. It changed her life. She was even able to find forgiveness in her heart for her mother. Many years later she made a cross-country trip to be by her mother’s side on her deathbed. There it was that she was given the opportunity to pray with her mother to receive Jesus as her Savior, as well. Then she heard the words she had longed to hear all her life, “I love you, dear.”
There was never any doubt in my mother’s mind about whose arm had prevented her from jumping off that balcony! That same, loving God had given her the grace to forgive, and had given my grandmother the gift of eternal life.
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