By Rajmund Dabrowski — My vivid memory about my grandmother Janina is her frequently repeated story about “accepting the truth” using a variation of expressions, including “learning the truth,” “knowing the truth,” “believing the truth,” “living the truth,” or “joining the true church.” She meant to express her discovery that seriously embracing Christianity (and the Adventist faith) made a difference in her life. It was more than knowing it. It was living out the truth she discovered and embraced. I recall her telling a conversion story and how she joined a new church.
One day, she came back from her church full of tears. There was no news from the hospital. She would have to check the next day to see if her husband, Jan, had survived surgery. Would her prayers bring healing to their home? But what was the meaning of the voice she heard? After all, she was praying to St. Anthony. He was a patron saint who was often invoked in prayers for restoring health, requesting help for those in distress or sorrow.
The voice she heard had asked, “Why are you praying to a clay figurine? Pray to Jesus. He lives and heals.”
She was stunned and returned home in tears. What was the meaning of the message? “I wanted my husband to be well. I wanted him home and at work as I could not imagine being left alone with four young children,” she explained. There was a knock on her door. The gentleman outside introduced himself and invited her to join a Bible study at a local Adventist church. But there was more.
Why are you crying, he asked?
Her story unfolded about her husband being in the hospital. Would he survive a generally incurable disease? If only he had listened to his doctors. Her faith prompted her to plead for a miracle from St. Anthony who was to intervene. The visitor assured her that Jesus changes all. They prayed together.
My grandfather lived not only through the WWII years but several years past his hospital surgery. And he left me with a memory of him as he carried me in his arms. This was my grandmother’s first encounter with truth as presented in the Word, but also her first encounter with Jesus.
Grandma Janina was a staunch believer. She often described her faith as a walking-with-Jesus experience. It was an experience of sharing him with others. As I listened to her prayers, I noted that she has things to say to Jesus. She told Him to return as He promised in her lifetime. And as she was in her final days, she told me that she learned that it wasn’t what she wanted Him to do, but that He has a better plan to fulfill. Knowing the truth means learning to hang out in the places daily where our Lord has promised to meet us. We will then gain clarity of what He meant when He said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” (John 8:32). In the words of Prince Tripp, “Without clarity [about] what Jesus means by ‘the truth,’ we will never know true freedom. Through a daily connection with his Word, we will not only gain knowledge but will encounter the living Truth to which it faithfully points.”
Such was my grandmother’s experience with our church. And she was ready for the return of her Lord
–Rajmund Dabrowski is editor of Mountain Views and RMC communication director. Email him at: [email protected]