The day I returned from my recent 5 week trip, I received a phone call from a woman who introduced herself as the wife of my high-school classmate. She said that her husband was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. He was immediately flown to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for treatment, but before his treatment even began, his vital organs stopped functioning and he fell into a coma. He was now on life support, and the doctors advised her to remove it, because there was no hope of recovery.
The next day, I visited my friend in the ICU. I had not seen him in more than forty years, and I could barely recognize him. As I spoke with his wife, I learned that she and her husband were not Christians, but had been talking about attending church.
I have heard that hearing is the last thing to go when people pass away. So I put my mouth close to his ear and shouted that he could be saved if he told God that he was sorry for having ignored Him and asked for His mercy and forgiveness. I told him about the robber who was crucified with Jesus and how Paradise was promised to him when he simply asked Jesus the moment before he died to take him where He was going.
I did not have conviction in my heart that he understood what I was saying. So I offered a simple prayer to God: “Please make him regain his consciousness so that he can understand the Gospel and accept Jesus.”
Two days later my friend’s wife called. She said that her husband regained consciousness after my prayer and that he could recognize people and was able to communicate. She said that she was so happy because he would finally be able to receive cancer treatment. But I sensed that God gave him only a brief hiatus so that he could hear the gospel and be saved. I dropped everything I was doing and rushed to the hospital.
My friend smiled faintly when he saw me. He was too physically weak to receive a detailed presentation of the gospel, so I decided to slowly read the Four Spiritual Laws to him. When it came to the page where he was supposed to read the prayer of salvation, I explained to him what the prayer means and asked him if he understood. He nodded. So I asked him to follow the prayer as I read it slowly. At the end of prayer, he said, “Amen.”
Two days later my friend’s wife left a message saying that her husband fell back into a coma and that the doctors said he would pass away in a day or so. Last Friday she left another message; her husband had passed away and she was leaving Houston with the body of her deceased husband.
I cannot be more thankful to God for letting my friend regain consciousness long enough for him to hear the gospel and then take him to heaven. God is truly gracious and merciful.
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