“I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.”
— Isaiah 49:25
Graciella was in trouble again. Mother had caught her dancing at the corner café for men who would pay her to entertain them. Though she was a young girl, Graciella had a daring and wild streak in her that kept her mother on the lookout for danger and for the trouble her daughter could get into.
Born in a Third World country, and the poverty that is experienced there, Graciella made up her mind to not only survive, but to succeed financially.
When she was twenty, she was smuggled into a foreign country and quickly learned how avoid being deported while she worked and supported herself as well as helping her family back in her homeland.
Sometimes the work involved dealing with dangerous individuals who were not afraid of killing people for the sake of money or to safeguard themselves from being reported and captured.
All during these years, Graciella’s mother was praying. During Graciella’s childhood, she had become a Seventh-day Adventist and had tried to interest her daughter into attending church and following Jesus. Graciella’s response would be, “Mother, you go to church and pray for the two of us. I will work and make money so I can build you a house, and make a living”.
Finally, her mother died and Graciella was kept busy with work and raising her own children. Gradually, her desire deepened to move to an area where her children could be raised away from much of the violence and corruption she was surrounded by. She moved her family to the United States, first living in Florida. Then, desiring even a more peaceful lifestyle, she chose Montana. Each move required much hard work while learning to live in a new culture along with the use of English instead of her native Spanish.
One Sabbath morning she awoke with an unusual thought, “You should go to church”. Her first thought was, “Why would I want to do that?” But, the conviction continued until she got dressed and went to the local Seventh-day Adventist church. There she heard about some meetings that were being held in the church by a visiting Evangelist, so she decided to attend those as well.
As she continued attending, the desire to be a part of God’s family grew, along with the returning memories of her mother’s appeals to go to church and become a member. Finally, she made a decision for baptism and became a member of the church.
Then came the diagnosis of a terminal illness and the onslaught of treatments and doctors’ appointments. It was during this time that she made another visit back to her homeland and family. While there, she was looking for photos of her childhood. In a drawer, she found a Bible that had belonged to her mother. Upon opening it, she found in its flyleaf a note written by her mother to her. It stated, “Dear Graciella, I know that in your last days, this Book will be very meaningful to you as it was to me.
What was it that brought Graciella (who we knew as Augustina) back to church? I would suggest that the Lord takes very seriously the prayers and petitions of parents for their children. Even after death stills that human voice, Jesus carries its appeal on, utilizing His Holy Spirit to draw that heart back to God.
That’s why I love the text quoted above. It’s a precious promise from God that He will fight for and accomplish our children’s salvation.