Never Too Late!
He was in his 70s, yet during his entire life, he had never been in the hospital! Neither had his wife. Married for many years, the couple was childless. They had no immediate family to notify when the man I'll call Jim was admitted to a medical floor with pneumonia. They did not belong to a church, so had no pastor to call, either. In a dire situation, Jim and his wife, Olivia, were sadly alone.
Hospice was a fairly new concept back then, so our hospital had developed a Hospice Care Team. As a member of that team, I went to the bedside of seriously-ill and terminal patients anywhere in the hospital. Our aim was to remove as many barriers as possible, so families could stay at their loved ones' bedsides regardless of limited visiting hours and other hospital regulations.
When Jim was admitted to the medical unit, the head nurse paged me to come and support distraught Olivia. Jim was visibly a very ill man. While the nurses got Jim situated and started IV medications, I explained the procedures to his wife and tried to allay her fears. When Jim was finally settled and Olivia was calm, I assured her I would be back the following day.
On day three of Jim's hospitalization, the head nurse called me again. Jim was being moved to ICU and she asked that I come immediately to be with Olivia. It was a harrowing trip! He was so ill! Poor Jim!
The following morning I found Olivia in the ICU waiting room. Jim had had a diagnostic bronchoscopy in his room, as he was too ill to be taken to the OR for the procedure. He was diagnosed with a rapidly-growing form of lung cancer, was on a ventilator and terminal! Poor Olivia!
When I went to see Jim the following day, he was in a coma and unaware of my presence. I bent down close to his ear and said clearly, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin." If he heard me, that was enough truth for him to latch on to and find Christ as his own savior. Jim was dying.
Surprisingly, the next morning Jim was conscious, his eyes wide open with fear. No one was with him just then. Time was precious. I asked Jim directly, "When you die, do you know you will go to heaven?" Being on the ventilator, he could not answer, but with a move of his head told me "no". When I asked if he wanted to know, he weakly nodded, "Yes."
"Jim, I'm going to pray a salvation prayer. You repeat it inside yourself after me." Slowly, I said a prayer for forgiveness for sin and then for receiving Jesus as his savior. When I said "Amen," I looked up. A tear was running down Jim's cheek. His eyes spoke peace.
"Now do you know you'll go to heaven?" I asked.
Jim signaled, "Yes."
The next morning, his bed was empty. During the night, Jim had gone...home!
Dear reader, put yourself in God's hands, so He is free to take you where He is working. There are Jims and Olivias who need God, and you may be the vehicle He wants to use to bring them to the knowledge of His salvation. Stay alert! You never know when the next stranger you meet will be God's opportunity to save their soul!Back to top