A Million Miles Away

Posted on May 5, 2022


By David Ettinger

A Rare Communication
I had a rare communication with my youngest sister last week.

I say this because I communicate very infrequently with my siblings – an older brother and 2 younger sisters. It’s not that we are at odds with each other; it’s just the way life has evolved.

Back in 1979 I left my home in New York City for New Mexico. That was well before email, smartphones, and texts. Outside of writing letters – which was already a dying art – there were long-distance phone calls, and they were expensive!

Then I got married and had a child a good 9 years before my siblings began having children. I didn’t communicate much with my siblings as I was busy raising Aaron (I got divorced when Aaron was 2, and was a full-time single dad). By the time Aaron was 9 and they started having their own children, they were justifiably too busy to communicate much with me.

Also, there was the friction between us as I, born and raised Jewish, gave my life to Christ at age 28. My youngest-sister atheist didn’t care, but my 2 other siblings were not happy. I continue to get along well with my atheist sister while hardly communicating with the other 2.

The Gulf
My rare communication with my atheist sister last week involved several text messages. They were civil and polite, but nothing special; just the exchanging of some thoughts.

But what those exchanges did contain was ample evidence of the spiritual gulf dividing my atheist sister and believing me. Nothing overt, just the natural gulf between believer and unbeliever.

This gulf is a gut-wrenching thing. Nothing spiritual I share with my sister registers. She can’t understand why I think the way I do. Neither can my 2 non-atheist siblings.

Of course, this is to be expected. We read in 1 Corinthians 1:18: “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” And 2:14 says: “But a natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

That’s a tragic reality. And, until the age of 28, it used to be my reality: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord …” (Ephesians 5:8, emphasis added).

But my siblings are still in darkness, and as such, their “mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so” (Romans 8:7).

They may not be overtly hostile to God or even realize they are, but by not accepting His true reality, their hostility is made manifest. And this makes it really difficult to impart to them spiritual truth. They neither want to hear nor talk about it.

Remaining Hopeful
I remain hopeful that my 3 siblings will accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, but time is passing quickly. Three of us are in our 60s, and my youngest sister gets there next year.

My prayer for them recalls the Lord’s directions given to Paul at his conversion, that “they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18).

Though hopeful, when it comes to my spiritual relationship with my siblings, I feel a million miles away from them. I know you have similar relationships with your unsaved loved ones.

With this in mind, let’s be ever more vigilant in praying that God will turn the unbelievers in our lives from darkness to light and destroy the great gulf that so cruelly separates us!