A friend recently sent in a prayer request which, with the details removed, reads as follows:

Could you ask our group to pray for a very dear family friend I’ve known since I was a small child, she had a cancerous tumor removed from her spine, and now they said she has another one they have to go back in and remove. They have been wealthy and somewhat removed from difficulty in life, and neither has salvation. Please pray for her to be drawn to the Lord during this time, and to ask herself the important question of what is after this life. Pray that the Lord will send someone to share the truth with her and that her eyes will be opened.

My response:

Please take this with all due respect in your time of pain for your family friend who is unsaved but what is stopping you from witnessing to her? It could be that this is your “Esther moment” and that God has placed this so strongly on your heart that you would be moved to action. I am someone who has intimate knowledge of this scenario. My best friend was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor just after we moved from Denver to Raleigh. I had spoken to him in the past about his mormon upbringing but had never gone into detail about it. He has agreed with me that mormonism was not Christianity but he seemed content in that with a feigned interest in “learning more” in the future. I then prayed about it for a while. Through a very hard year I finally spoke up to him about his salvation and what mormonism will bring him.

He again agreed that they’re very different and he tearfully listened as I shared the 10 commandments to show him God’s holy standard and told him that he can never work his way to Heaven. He agreed that a just God would have to send him to Hell. I bought him a NKJV MacArthur study bible and urged him to talk to God about it and to use the bible I sent him to see if what I said was true. 1 month later his cancer was miraculously gone and we rejoiced! We didn’t talk much about our previous conversation as I felt uncomfortable and he seemed to avoid it. He did say that he was still attending the mormon church with his family and had attributed his restoration to his mormon “father”.

4 months later and the cancer was back. This time it was bigger and growing very quickly in two new areas – the doctor told him that he didn’t have a lot of time. 2 weeks after hearing this he called me up to tell me. It may have been that I was saddened by it all or it may have been my fear but instead of taking up the gospel again in earnest I resigned to pray for him nightly that God would raise up Christ-filled believers who would be able to reach him, completely ignoring His calling in my life to the task. I had every reason why I couldn’t do it – that I was not a good enough speaker, that I had failed in the past, that I wasn’t smart enough to do it… every reason imaginable. Then, a couple weeks later I get a cryptic message from him stating that “even though we had our disagreements on Christianity that he loved me and didn’t want that between us”. I tried unsuccessfully for a week to contact him and on the next Saturday I received a quick text message that he had died.

I was devastated. I knew what I was tasked with and I had turned from it because I was more concerned with our friendship than with his salvation. God had placed the burden on my heart and I chose not to act personally and in doing so have placed on my own heart the burden of uncertainty. Ultimately I rest in the assurance that God will judge him with the believers if he repented of his sins and trusted in Christ alone for his salvation or by his works compared to the 10 commandments. I know that we serve a just God and that His judgment would be perfect and true. What of my own heart, though? Knowing what I should have done versus what I chose to do?

It ultimately comes down to how much I believe in what I have learned about God from His book and the godly leaders He has placed into my path. How much importance I place on my own salvation and my devotion to God will determine how far willing I am to go in His service. My savior DIED in the most horrific way imaginable to guarantee my salvation. Who am I to stop any shorter than that in service to Him?

I have made it a covenant between God and myself to never let what happened to Shane happen to anyone else if I can help it. While I understand that it’s God through the Holy Spirit that does the saving, I will not stop until I have done all that I can. Ultimately, what you choose to do is up to you – I just think that you can do more in prayerful, loving action than in hoping that God will send someone else.

I hope you don’t see me telling you what to do and instead that you see me just trying to help out. We love you and your family and we will continue to pray for you in this time of need.

How important is your salvation? Is it worth everything to you or do you regard it as a patch you can apply to your life in times of need or convenience? What does it matter if a man gains the whole world but loses his soul? That said, which side are you on?