Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The End Or The Beginning?

When the nurse told me about the new man on the hall, I knew it was an important appointment.

"George is dying, he doesn't know where he's going and he is scared." she said. I quickly made note of the room number and name and set off down the hall. Of course, as I came to the room the aid immediately decided that this was the time to go in and make up the room. It's always that way. I went on to another room to see who I could visit in the meantime.

When I returned, George was gone. Looking back at the nurse, I saw a new man in the hallway. It had to be him. The nurse gave me the nod. I prayed that God would give me the words to speak.

"Hi, are you new here? I know everyone, but I don't know you."  I smiled. George looked up at me but there was no smile. He had the look of a man without hope. The nurse introduced us and I walked over toward the TV as he wheeled himself along.

"I'm waiting for my wife. She was supposed to be here at 10 o'clock."   By now it was 10:20.

"Well, she is probably fighting traffic since it's Easter weekend, right? I'm sure she'll be here any time.". Knowing that this was not a great place to talk I decided that I would wait and talk to both of them. I left him there waiting and went down another hall to visit someone else, dropping off a 'One Second After You Die' booklet in George's room.  Walking past a window later I saw him outside with a nicely dressed lady.

I approached them outside and introduced myself.   He introduced me to his wife, Margie.

"Are you the one who put that book on his table?" she asked me. Wow. That was fast. They seemed very concerned.

"Yes."  This seemed to resolve the mystery that was hanging in the air. I made some small talk about the weather and their home state.

"May I sit down?" I asked.

"Oh, yes.  Find a shady spot.". She said.

Looking into George's eyes, I wished that I had a camera to record the utter despair and hopelessness. He looked like he was in shock. I found out that just last week, the family had him completely in the dark about his terminal condition. The hospice doctor ended that when a few days ago, he walked into the room and abruptly stopped the charade. We do people a great disservice when we try to avoid the truth at this time of life. The realization of death is the wake up call we all need to be willing to hear Truth.

I noticed that Margie had on a large gold cross. "That's a beautiful cross. Does it have special significance?"  They had a huge question looming over them and the answer was right under her nose.

"I gave it to George for our 50th." she smiled. "But he won't wear it."

"Do you go to church anywhere?" I asked them. She named a local church.

"What about you, George?" He was lost in his own thoughts, regrets, memories. He looked at me and said, "Church of God.".

"I want to ask you both some questions and I need your complete honesty, ok? If you died today, where would you go? Are you good enough to get to Heaven?"

Margie immediately answered me. "I was raised Baptist and I'm a good person." (Now do we really think there will be an angel with a clipboard standing there?...'religious affiliation please')

George was silent, looking far away. "George?" He nodded his head and said, "Yes."

I immediately took them to the Law, George listened intently now and seemed to grow more interested. They were both honest and understood what their destiny was. Both admitted being very concerned at their future.

"Yesterday was Good Friday, the day Jesus died on the cross. Why did He die?" I asked. George was glued to me now, listening to every word, as if he didn't want to miss anything. "Did you know that intricate knowledge of this event will not save you? After all, James tells us that 'the demons believe in Jesus and tremble'- but they won't be in Heaven. They may know every detail of the crucifixion-well, they may have even been there! It won't do them any good. God took the form of a man in Jesus. He led a perfectly spotless life, never sinned. Laid His life down on the cross and rose from the dead three days later. You see, He defeated our greatest enemies...Death, Hell and sin!"

George's eyes never left mine.

"God requires that we repent and then embrace Jesus, taking up our cross and following Him."  I gave them a courtroom illustration to make clear the idea of repentance.

"You've only got one chance because Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by me.' "  Looking right into his eyes, I said, "George, my prayer is that you will get right with God, because we don't know the day of our death and we must be ready to meet Him."  I gave them both a Good Person booklet and stood up to put my chair back.

I looked back to thank them for talking to me. Margie smiled and said, "Thank you."  George never looked up, he was absorbed in the booklet.

Ecclestiastes 11:4-6 He who observes the wind will not sow; and he that regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.  In the morning sow your seed and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reproved upon an obedient ear.

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