>How On Her Last Day My Grandma Edith Ashton Found Life

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by Kevin Williams

My Grandma was in her nineties and extremely stubborn to the Gospel. For many years she came to our home for dinner with my family every Tuesday evening, and we could talk and laugh about many things, but whenever we brought God into the conversation, it was like talking to a stone. After many years of cold rejection everytime we tried to witness to her, it got to the point where if she complained “It’s too hot today” as she often did, then I would wryly reply “It’s a lot more hot where you’re going, grandma”.

After several years of this, I got to the point where one night I prayed, “Lord, she’s just unresponsive. I’ve tried witnessing and witnessing and I can’t do this any more, can you just send her a dream?”

A few weeks or so later, my Grandma was at our house one Tuesday evening when she asked “Who are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?”
I answered “They’re in the Bible, Grandma, in the Book of Daniel. Why?”
And she replied “I keep having dreams about them.”

As she was old, I gave her a children’s Bible opened in Daniel and she read about them. She continued and read the rest of the book.

A day or two later I gave her the Gospel of Mark and various other tracts and booklets, which she read. And she really started thinking more and more about God.

But then she was taken into hospital with heart problems. My son (then aged 7) went to visit her and said “I should have brought my Bible Grandma to read.”
Grandma replied “that would be nice.”

In the next few days her condition deteriorated, and I knew she was really searching for God, but had not yet found Him and there wasn’t much time left. I prayed that I would get one last chance to share the Gospel with her.

Because she was on the Heart Ward, visiting hours were restricted to 6-8pm and so my plan for the day was, I was working in Liverpool (40 miles from where I live) until 12pm, then I would help a few other brothers work on a house which was being used to hide a Christian lady who’d converted from Islam, I would then visit my Grandma in hospital and share the Gospel with her one last time, and then I would pick up the children from my wife’s mothers.

Well that was my plan, except: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8

The day didn’t exactly go the way I’d planned it.

First of all my work in Liverpool which I had expected to be finished by 12pm at the latest, kept going wrong, and there was no way I could leave. As time went on into the afternoon, I prayed “Lord, I want to go and help with the church house for you, I want to go to the hospital for you, and for my Grandma, and you keep putting obstructions in my way. I don’t understand what you’re doing but I know you’re in control.”

I didn’t leave Liverpool until well after 6pm, it was too late to work on the church house, and I had to pick our children up. I got to the hospital at 8:20pm, and strict visiting hours were over, but when the nurse heard me say I’d driven from Liverpool, she said, I could go in as I’d travelled such a long way.

Me and my two children went in, and the nurse said “Edith, you have visitors from Liverpool.”
My Grandma sat up, and said “hello”.
After she had spoken with the children for a few minutes, I said “I’ve brought my Bible Grandma, so I’ll read you something.”
She said “Thank you, that would be nice.”

I opened my Bible to John chapter 3 verse 16 and read this glorious truth, but I inserted her name into it.

I said “I’m reading from John 3:16 Grandma:

For God so loved Edith Ashton, that He gave His only begotten Son, that if Edith Ashton believes in Him, Edith Ashton will not perish but have everlasting life.”

Sharper than a two-edge sword God’s Word went straight through to her heart, and as tears rolled down her cheeks she asked “What must I do to be saved?”
I asked if she’d read what I’d given her and if she understood the Gospel, and she replied “Yes.” Then I said “Believe. Obey what it says. Call on the Lord to save you.”

Then from her hospital bed, she called out to God to save her.

She then asked what happens now?”
I said “Well Jesus will either come and make you better, or He’ll come and take you home.”

The transformation and peace about her was amazing. She then started pointing to the nurses and telling me, “Tell them! You must tell the nurses about Jesus and how they can have their sins forgiven.” This once stubborn lady who had spent the last few years telling me “you shouldn’t preach to people Kevin”, was now excitedly telling me I must preach to everyone.

Soon it was time to go, and from her bed my Grandma didn’t stop waving to me and my children, until we had gone through the door and was out of sight, just like she did from her window when I visited her flat as a child.

Early the next morning at around 1am, my Grandma Edith Ashton went to be with the Lord .

I then found out that throughout the day I went to see her, she was either delirious or not conscious and the only time she was of a sound mind to hear the Gospel was that short time when I went to visit her, and her condition deteriorated soon after I had left.

The very time I was planning to get there in normal visiting hours, she wouldn’t have understood me, and so God put obstruction after obstruction in my way to delay me, and He made sure I was there at the only time she would be able to respond.

Rom 8:28-30 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”