I brought my husband his cup of coffee this morning just before we sat in the den facing the day together with our Bibles. I told him that our friend, Joni, lost her battle with cancer and passed away. His response was similar to mine: “I never could grasp how she could walk away from Jesus.”
I can’t tell you how many times I enjoyed sweet fellowship with Joni. We attended Christian seminars together from our church, served the Lord side by side in Women’s Ministries, and enjoyed intimate lunches sharing secrets from our hearts. Joni was my doctor, but more importantly she was my friend. She never got the victory from the bitterness and rejection from her past and eventually it pulled her in the wrong direction. Her keen intelligence led her away from Jesus rather than to Him. She began to study intensely the Jewish Roots of our faith. Little by little, I could tell Joni was discarding the grace Jesus offers and embracing the law of the Old Testament. I remember all too well the day we sat face to face and she confessed to me that she is no longer a follower of Christ. She divulged that she found much more love from the followers of Judaism and was tired of Christians letting her down in life.
Joni was the first girlfriend in my circle who attended The Passion of the Christ the second day it hit the theatre. I made her promise that she would call as soon as she got home. She called me and we cried together as she shared the dramatic scenes of His bloody sacrifice that set us free from the strangleholds of sin.
Over the years, several of the girlfriends labored endlessly in scripture, with hugs and gentleness hoping to win Joni back. I was not there when she took her last breath; I can only hope that Joni whispered “Save me, Jesus.”