Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Saint Nicholas

Lately, I've been feeling a great deal of spiritual pressure. This week, I talked to both my Mom and Dad about it. They independently gave me the 'get back to basics' talk and so this morning I did exactly that.

I met Nicholas this morning in the nursing home. My friend Allyson, stood outside his room to pray for him as we talked. He explained to me that he was from Boston and that he moved into this facility after retiring two different times. We talked about Boston and about his family. He told me that he and an older sister were the only ones left now.

"Now what happens, Nicholas? You know, after we die."

"You know, I've always been curious about that. Some people say that's it and some people say there's something more." he said.

"What do you really think? Do you believe in Heaven and Hell?" I asked.

"Well, yes I do. I think there is a Heaven and a Hell." he answered.

Nicholas was under the impression that as a 'good christian man' he would go to Heaven automatically. We went through some of the 10 Commandments and Nicholas soon saw that he had grieved God by breaking His Law.

"So you see, Nicholas you are actually destined for Hell. You know Jesus talked more about Heaven than He did Hell...He was trying to warn us to stay away! People will be in so much pain that they will gnash their teeth. The fire will not burn out. I've never seen anyone in so much pain that they gnaw on their tongue but I have heard of it. What a horrible place to spend eternity!" I said.

"I don't want to go to Hell!" Nicholas stated adamantly. Then he said, "I don't think God would send me to Hell for these small things I've done."

"No liar will be found in Heaven...'all liars shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone'. God said that there is 'none righteous-no, not one...' and that includes you, Nicholas." I explained how our sin is against God-not just each other.

Nicholas conceded that he was headed for Hell. I explained that Jesus came to take our sins upon Himself and pay for them. Nicholas listened carefully.

"Does this make sense to you, Nicholas?" I asked.

"Not exactly." he said. I stopped and prayed that the Holy Spirit would open his ears to hear Truth. Salvation is of the Lord.

I gave Nicholas the illustration of a courtroom where he would stand, guilty of manslaughter after running over a small child. He could apologize but not be let free on that basis. When presented with the fine of $2M he was unable to pay it. After a neighbor stepped in to pay the fine for him, justice was satisfied and he was free to go!

"Does this make sense" I asked again.

"Yes, it does. You know you're the first person who's ever told me this!" When he said this the expression on his face said everything. He looked as though he had barely missed being run down by a truck.

After explaining repentence and faith in Jesus Christ as the only way, I asked him if he thought this was important enough to take care of today.

"Yes!" he said.

I told Nicholas he could just pray to God right there if he wanted to. He seemed very hesitant and I thought maybe he was a bit embarrassed to pray with me there.

"You don't have to pray with me here."

He still hesitated. "Ahhh...I don't know how to pray. I can't say as I've ever done that."

"Well, just talk to God, He already knows everything. He's been waiting a long time to talk to you, Nicholas."

Nicholas was quiet, but then said, "God please forgive me for sinning. I don't want to go to Hell-I want to follow Jesus!"

After we talked a bit more I asked him to read a couple verses from the book of John. He read out loud and smiled afterwards.

"Does it make more sense now?" I asked him.

"Yes, thank you for this book."

"I'll bring you a Bible soon so you can read every day, OK?"

"OK. Thank you for coming to tell me." he said, without looking up.

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

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