Saturday, February 13, 2010

Just go.

Since the nurses are very familiar with the patients, I usually ask them if they have anyone I should see first. On this particular morning I was told the man I should really see wasn't here but instead, he was in the hospital.

I decided to make the trip on Tuesday. I was really dragging my feet today. I really needed to snap out of it! I prayed on the way that the Lord would take care of all the details. I knew that if I would just plant the seed, salvation would be up to Him. When I got up to the room I was concerned because I could see that there were no sheets on the bed. As I peeked in the room I saw an elderly lady sitting in a chair.

"Hi." I introduced myself and told her I was from the nursing home.

"I'm Geri, Charlie's wife. Charlie is down in dialysis right now. You are welcome to wait with me." She gave me a weak smile. Geri looked very worried and tired.

We talked for a while about her children and grandchildren. We talked about Charlie, whom I had yet to meet. Soon enough the subject of death was discussed. I asked what she thought about the afterlife. She told me about her father, who was trained for the priesthood in Rome.

"He came back and told my grandmother that he just could not do it. He was a wonderful man", she reminisced. "He instilled in me a very strong belief in Purgatory."

Oh, great, I thought. Ok Lord, You have to do the work. I am going to do what I came to do. Seeing that Geri was a Roman Catholic I knew that she would be familiar with the 10 Commandments, so I took her through a few of them. She admitted to lying, stealing and blasphemy. Then she told me that God would not send her to Hell because nothing she did was 'that bad'. We went through a couple more Commandments and then finally she told me she would end up in Purgatory.

"You know, good works!" she smiled.

"You know Geri, that is really a comforting thought, but the trouble is there is no Purgatory mentioned in scripture. And if it were true then why did Jesus have to die?" When I said this her jaw dropped slightly. She just stared at me as though this were the first she was hearing of something that really shocked her.

"If God is truly Righteous and Just, as scripture says He is, He will be bound by His Holiness to send you to Hell for eternity-no chance of escape for you! God sent Jesus to die for us because we don't have the payment He is looking for. You see, Jesus died so that He could pay our penalty. We deserve to go to Hell-we did the crimes. What God expects of us is that we humble ourselves and admit that we've done wrong. We don't deserve Heaven but He made a way for us to spend eternity there. We must repent, or turn away from our sin, admitting we are wrong. Then we must follow Jesus, putting all of our trust in Him. 'For by grace are you saved, through faith, not of works, lest any man should boast.' There will not be one person boasting in Heaven that he got there on his own. Does this make sense to you?" I asked her.

"Yes, this really makes sense" she said.

We talked some more, Charlie still did not return and I had to get going so I told her I would come back to see Charlie. I determined that family came in the afternoon so I would come the next morning.

At 9am the next day I walked out of the elevator to Charlie's room. As I got there I could see that the name had been taken down off of the wall. I stood there for a moment before turning to the nurse's station.

"Is Charlie gone?" I asked.

The nurse hesitated. I told her I was from the nursing home. "Did he pass?" I asked.

"He passed away last night. His wife and daughter were with him." she said. I hoped that Geri had shared what we had talked about.

As the elevator slid down to the ground floor I prayed for the family. I thought I was going to see a man named Charlie. Instead I talked to his wife. The Lord is in charge of who I see, I am just to go.

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