All through our 23 years of marriage Ron was a loving husband and wonderful father. Though he agreed the kids and I should go to church, he seldom came with us. I hinted; I cajoled. And I prayed, Please, Lord, open Ron’s heart to you. Ron continued to have mixed feelings about his faith, and I wondered if my prayers had any effect.
When our oldest daughter, Reneé, went into the hospital to deliver our first grandchild I asked Ron to come with us, but he decided to stay at work. I fumed silently. After Reneé gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl, I called Ron. “Hi, Grandpa. Your granddaughter has arrived. You should have been here.”
“I’m sorry,” he said. “But I had to be here today. I’ll explain later. Please find out what time the baby was born. It’s important.”
I hung up, confused, but I found out the time of birth. When I picked Ron up that evening he handed me a folded piece of paper.
“Don’t open it yet, Ellie. Just listen,” he began. “A friend came into the shop today and told me how important his faith is to him. Something he said struck a chord with me. When he asked me to pray with him, I agreed. I can’t explain it, but afterward I felt different.”
It was the moment I had been waiting for. But instead of being thrilled, I felt hurt. Twenty-three years I’ve been pushing for this, I thought, and his friend can make him change just like that?
“There’s more,” he continued. “I felt compelled to say a prayer for Reneé and the baby. Just as I sat down at my desk again, I heard a baby’s cry, sharp and clear. I looked around, but there was no one in the shop.
For some reason, I checked the time. I wrote it down on that slip. I’ve always asked God, ‘If you’re really there give me a sign, and I’ll believe.’ But it didn’t work that way. First I believed, and then he let me hear my granddaughter cry.”
When I looked at the slip I realized Ron’s friend hadn’t changed his mind any more than I had. It was an act far beyond either of us, one that had been in the works for 23 years. For Ron had written 6:23—the exact time of our granddaughter’s birth.