Look at the cross,
Jesus took your entire burden,
His precious blood conquered all,
No one cared for your soul, His lover never fails.
Look beyond His death,
Victory belongs to the house of David,
What was fractured has been redeemed,
You’re free from bondage,
His blood did it at no cost,
Forever and ever you are soul is free,
His life did it all.
Beware of the snares, traps by the enemy,
Be watchful, God hates sin,
Be righteous O Ye’ man,
Walk in holy ways, pray and watch,
The enemy stares at you,
Christ died for you O Ye’ sinner.
Suffering is something we all experience at some point in our lives. We can suffer in many different ways. Our pain can be primarily physical, or we can suffer in mental and emotional ways. Suffering can be temporary but may still be very painful. We always feel very relieved when it comes to an end. Then, there's the severe, constant, unending suffering that goes on day after day, year after year. There may not be any hope that our circumstances will improve while on this earth.
At times like this we might ask, “Does God care that I'm suffering? Are all his decisions loving and fair? Is God in control? Can I trust Him?” If we believe the Bible which says that God is in control of all things, He is loving and wise, perfect and just, then the answer to these questions is a definite “Yes!” We may not understand why we're suffering, but we can trust God confident in knowing He will work all things out for our good.
We may wonder, “Is anything being accomplished by this suffering? Why is God allowing it to happen?” There is a purpose in suffering! Circumstances in our lives can be consequences of our sin and the poor choices we make. But, sometimes we suffer when we haven't done anything wrong. God wants us to use these adversities to refine, mature, complete and perfect us. If we're wise, we won't waste this opportunity. The Bible says when suffering comes, “count it all joy.” A lot can be accomplished if we choose to surrender to God's will for our lives.
We read in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that, God's “...grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me.” We may be physically or emotionally weak, but God says we're strong because of His great power working in us.
In Hebrews 4:16, it says, “Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” God knows how much we suffer and cares deeply for us. He'll give us all we need to come through our trials victoriously. Revelation 21:4 says, God “... will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” It's exciting to know there will be no more pain or sadness in heaven. We will be free from all our suffering.
We read in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
I know that in my suffering, it gives me great joy and hope to know that because my sins are forgiven not only will I see Jesus in heaven someday, but I have Him with me now to comfort, encourage and guide me.
We'll never know how much Jesus suffered for us, when He died on the cross, to take the punishment for our sins. His sacrifice provided the way for us to have eternal life if we believe He died and rose and trust Him to save us from our sins. It says in Romans 10:9-10 “If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Would you like to know your sins are forgiven and you're going to heaven? If so, you can say a prayer similar to this one:
Dear Jesus, I know I have sinned. I believe you died on the cross to pay for my sin and rose again. I turn away from my sin and trust you as my Savior. I am now a child of God and I will see you in heaven someday. Amen.
I was terrified, paralyzed by fear, unlike anything I've ever known! I stood motionless willing myself to take another breath. I tried to cry out but was unable to speak. Even if I'd been able to communicate, there was no one to talk to; I was alone. I'd been by myself many times in my life, but I'd never experienced anything like this until now. It was isolation so extreme I didn't know if I could survive it.
In the dim light around me, I could see that I was standing on the side of a lonely road, feeling vulnerable and fragile as I waited there wondering what was going to happen. Suddenly, a car drove slowly past me. I turned to look and was horrified to see my parents and older brother and sister inside. They were leaving without me! I tried to scream, “Wait for me! Don't leave me behind!” but I heard the words only in my head. The car faded from view, and I knew I'd never see my family again. I hung my head, and as I looked down, I noticed a puddle near my feet. Gazing into the water, I saw in my reflection that I was just a boy. The light dissipated; I was in total darkness now. It was an inky blackness so intense it felt like an evil presence. My mind filled with dread, and I started to panic when I imagined what it would be like to be trapped here. I'd only been in this place a short time, but I didn't feel like I could stand it any longer.
I drew my hand over my eyes, and when I pulled it away, I was surprised to find it wet with tears. I began to stir and then glanced around feeling disoriented. My heart was pounding as I relived the events that had just occurred. They still seemed so real, so vivid in my mind. I realized now this had all been a terrible nightmare. I sighed, so relieved to wake up and find that I was at home lying in my bed. But, what could have happened to cause this dark dream? Was it because of the movie I'd seen at my friend Kerry's church last night? The message presented in the film was that Jesus would return someday for those who believe in Him and trust Him as their Savior. Then, He'll take them to Heaven to live with Him forever. I remember thinking afterward this sounds like something you'd read in a science fiction novel. But, my mind kept coming back to one very important thought; what if it's true? What if Jesus is going to return? Will I be going to Heaven or discover one day that my family and some of my friends have vanished, and I'm left here without them?
I could remember how terrifying the nightmare had been; the darkness, agony, and desolation were overwhelming. “Was that a glimpse of hell?” I wondered, “I couldn't imagine being in a place like that forever. I'd experienced just a few moments of horror there, and I felt like I'd go crazy. But, if I'm not going to Heaven, then according to Kerry's Youth Pastor, I'll be going to that terrible place of punishment called hell. After the movie, he gave a talk on how you can be sure you're going to Heaven. I listened to what he had to say but didn't take it seriously at the time.
I wanted to talk to someone about all that had been going on, so I went to visit Kerry. I'd known her for many years and had recently met her family when I started going to their church. I drove to her family's home, and when Kerry answered the door, she invited me to stay for lunch. I agreed and followed her to the dining room where everyone was already seated at the table. As we began to eat, I found Kerry's eyes watching me. She leaned over and whispered, “What's wrong Will? You're never this quiet!” At first, I was reluctant to open up about my haunting dream, but once I started talking the words came rushing out. As I began to explain the nightmare, all the emotions I'd suffered during that time came flooding back. I felt like a frightened, young child desperately wanting the chance to see my family again.
When I stopped speaking, the room was eerily quiet. “What do you think of the dream?” I said, trying to illicit a response from the family. “Wow, that was creepy,” her younger brother replied. “That must’ve been terrible!” her mother exclaimed. “I’ve never been so afraid in all my life,” I softly responded, “I can't stop thinking about what would happen to me if Jesus were to return.” I shrugged then added, “But, why should I care about the future? I'm a young guy with a lot of years ahead of me!”
Then, with concern in her voice, Kerry said, “God is the only one who knows how much time we have left and when Jesus will return for His followers. In Matthew 24:42-44 Jesus said, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Jesus could return at any moment. Are you ready to go to Heaven, Will?” Everyone in the room grew silent. Suddenly, I didn't feel like I could sit there any longer and quickly got to my feet. I pushed back my chair and told them I needed to go for a walk. I hurried to the door and rushed outside wanting to be alone to think about what Kerry had said to me. In my dream was I seeing what it would be like to be in hell? I shuddered at the thought. Why would anyone want to be in a place of torment?
The Youth Leader had said we have a choice about where we'll spend eternity. We'll either be in Heaven or hell. “God doesn't want anyone to go to hell,” he'd said, “That's why He sent His precious Son to earth to die on the cross and raised Him from the dead to offer us eternal life. The Lord Jesus was taking the punishment for our sins on Himself as He hung there suffering for us. Romans 3:23 tells us, we've all sinned, and our sin separates us from a holy God. But if we put our faith in Him and turn from our sin we'll become a child of God, and can now go to Heaven when we die or when Jesus returns.”
“I definitely don't want to go to hell!” I thought. “But, if I want to go to Heaven I should trust in Jesus, ask Him to forgive my sins and give my life to Him.” Should I choose to take Jesus as my Lord and Savior or live life on my own terms not surrendering to anyone? I was wrestling with this decision. I had all the information I needed to make a choice but was still unsure of what I wanted to do.
The sky became dark and foreboding as I made my way back to the house. Lights started coming on in the neighborhood even though it was mid-afternoon. It was unusually quiet on the street, and I began to walk a little faster toward the house. I could feel a fear rising in me that I could not explain.
When I arrived at Kerry's house, I was about to walk up their sidewalk when the garage door suddenly opened, and I saw Kerry's Dad backing their car out of the driveway. As he slowly pulled out into the road, I could see Kerry and her family inside. I waved to them, but they didn't see me. They hadn't mentioned they were leaving, and I wondered if they'd come looking for me. As the car drove slowly down the street, I started running as fast as I could attempting to keep up with them. I was frantically waving my arms and shouting to try and get their attention, but I felt helpless to stop the accelerating vehicle.
Finally, Kerry looked out the back window and noticed me running behind them. She waved at me and our eyes locked for a moment. Then, suddenly everyone in the car was gone. The whole family instantly disappeared. I watched in disbelief as the speeding car left unattended continued on a short distance and crashed into a telephone pole on the side of the road. I rushed over to the crumpled vehicle and looked inside knowing what I'd find. There were no passengers. No one had escaped they'd just vanished! I stumbled in the grass and fell to my knees horrified at what I'd just witnessed. “Is this another dream?” I wondered. But, I knew with great certainty and deep regret that Jesus had just returned, and I'd been left behind!
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “For the Lord Himself will come down from Heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
His black hooded robe flowed behind him as he strode toward the darkened building with great purpose in his step. There was evil all around him like an aura of hatred and wickedness.
A chill went down her spine, and she suddenly felt so cold. He crept slowly past her; she couldn't breathe. Then, he enticed her to follow him on down the road. She was unaware of his presence not knowing that every step she took could lead to her destruction. He looked back at her with a cold, sinister sneer. If she had seen this, she would’ve been terrified by its intensity. But, he had the power to draw her to him, to make her captive to do his will. Her head was bent low as she moved down the road. She felt heaviness deep in her soul that she could not explain. She'd felt this burden all her life and longed to be free, but she'd given up hope of that long ago.
Lucifer turned and looked at the woman following just steps behind him. He was staring right at her, but she couldn't see him nor could she hear his voice. But, he could convey his messages to her; she could hear his thoughts in her mind. He laughed when he thought how easy it was to lead her astray by his words. She might even think what she'd heard were her own thoughts or maybe they were from God. He gave the woman a hateful look as he thought of his plan to destroy her. Then, he turned around and walked down the path that led to an old building.
Entering the abandoned warehouse was like walking into a tomb. As her eyes were adjusting to the dim light, she could see the fearful, anguished eyes of those with whom she shared this space. They were homeless for many different reasons, yet they all shared the same need for shelter. But, it was not a safe environment in which to live; some of the residents would do anything to get drugs or alcohol.
At that moment, an evil looking man with vile intentions tried to force her to buy the drugs in his hand. Satan rushed to her side urging, “Go ahead. Try them! They'll make you feel good and help you forget about all of your problems.” Julie was tempted, but she knew from experience if she took them her problems would only get worse. She had friends who had dangerous addictions. They seemed desperate to quit but helpless to do so.
When she refused to buy them, the man was livid and suddenly lunged to attack her. In fear for her life, she cried, “God, please help me!” Instantly, a tall figure appeared and seemed to blind the man momentarily so she could move away from him. Then, without a word the man who had rescued her just disappeared. She quickly raced to the door and went out into the night. As she made her escape, she felt her heart pounding and looked back to make sure she wasn't being followed. When she couldn't run anymore, she collapsed against a vacant building and sat down in the dirt. The wind was bitter as she huddled close to the wall wondering what had happened in that warehouse a few moments ago. Did God send an angel to help her escape?
“Why would God care about me?” she cried, “I've made such a mess of my life. What will happen to my baby and me? How are we going to survive?” There was a sickening grin on Lucifer's face; he delighted in all of her suffering.
Just then the baby kicked and with tears streaming down her face, she thought back to a happier, carefree time in her life. She began dating Cameron the last year of high school. He was so cute and fun to be around. She was hanging out with him one day laughing, talking and enjoying their time together, but when it was quiet, caught up in the moment, she chose to give her love away. She hadn't planned for this to happen. She had wanted to wait until marriage, but now she felt sad knowing she had lost something precious. She was changed forever.
It was a rainy spring day when she learned that she was going to have a baby. Cameron seemed to accept the news, and their relationship continued again. She felt overwhelmed and wondered how she’d be a good mother when she was struggling just to provide for herself.
Lucifer tormented her day and night tempting her to have an abortion saying, “You must not go through with this pregnancy! It's not the right time to have a baby. How do you think you're going to take care of it?” She'd heard being a single parent was difficult, and she wished she'd listened to God and waited until she was married to have a family. But, she was expecting now and knew God would not approve of an abortion. She'd read in the Bible in Psalm 139:13-16, that He created each person as a viable human being right from conception. She struggled with her decision, but in the end, she couldn't take her child's life no matter what obstacles she may face.
Her parents though shocked at first wanted her to keep the baby but raise it without Cameron. They'd seen the bruises and tried to warn her she'd be better off without him, but she was in love and knew he'd be a great father. Lucifer had been there all along pleased that she was still with Cameron. He'd often talked to her boyfriend encouraging him to take his anger out on her.
When Cameron proposed, she was so happy and couldn't wait to get married. They eloped and started their new life together in a small basement apartment in the inner city. At first, she was enjoying married life, but then Cameron began drinking more and staying out late. One night he didn't come home at all. When the police arrived, they said Cameron had been in a fight with another patron at the bar he'd visited last night. She was devastated but not surprised when they told her he was dead.
She almost had a miscarriage that night, and this made her more determined than ever to keep going if only for her child. She already loved this baby more than she thought she could. She went to her parents to see if they would help her, but they refused. She found a job in a grocery store but lost it soon after when she became ill from the pregnancy. When she could no longer pay the rent, she was forced to live out on the streets. She never thought this could happen to her. Her life had gotten so out of control! She knew she'd done things that wouldn't please God, and she'd made some choices she'd always regret. Now she'd soon have a baby to raise, and she didn't know how she could do it.
She was choking back tears as she tried to stand up and move away from the building. She'd been sitting for so long she wasn't sure she could get up unassisted. She would not get help from her evil companion; Satan was reveling in her misery. She was startled when she felt something wet on her cheeks. She'd been staring at the hard ground as she trudged along and didn't notice it had started to snow. She could feel the temperature dropping and pulled her worn coat tightly around her. She began to worry about where she would spend the night. She knew she could never go back to the warehouse. It wasn't safe for her or the baby.
Her steps came more slowly as she tried to maneuver through the snow covered street. Then, Julie became dizzy and gave out a cry as she stumbled and fell to the ground. A man shoveling snow outside the local Christian Mission saw what had happened and ran over to help. He reached out his hand to lift her back up while voicing concern for her and her child. Julie assured him she wasn't hurt and gladly agreed to warm up in the Mission. Soon wrapped in a blanket and sipping hot coffee, she thanked everyone for their kindness to her. They were discussing her baby and plans for the future when someone mentioned the Pastor's weekly sermon was about to begin. Julie felt drawn to these people and the love they had shown her, so she asked her new friends if she could join them.
She began to rise from the chair, but Lucifer's words seemed to force her back down. “You must not listen to the Pastor! There's no truth to his words. You'll only be hurt by his lies!” he spat out the words with fiery venom, “You must get out of here right now! Get up! I'll show you the way!” With an evil stare when she would not obey, he followed her into the chapel. She found a seat and was waiting for the Pastor to speak when one of the women she'd met earlier leaned over and asked, “Julie, we know you're having a rough time could we help find housing for you and your baby?” Tears of joy filled her eyes as she nodded and smiled. She had cried out to God for help, and He had answered in a greater way than she could have imagined.
The music started, and she was enjoying it so much she even found herself joining in on some of the songs. As Julie began to relax, she realized how exhausted she was and hoped she'd stay awake during the service. But, she didn't need to be concerned, for she was riveted by what the Pastor had to say.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour,” the Bible says in 1 Peter 5:8. Satan or Lucifer as he was first called was the most beautiful angel God had created, and he had authority over all other angels. However, Satan wanted to be like God; he and other rebellious angels, now called demons or fallen angels, all sinned against God. So, He cast them out of his presence, and they fell “...like lightning from heaven,” it says in Luke 10:18.
“The great dragon... that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan... leads the whole world astray,” it says in Revelation 12:9. Satan is “... the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient,” we read in Ephesians 2:2. He's the prince of darkness and wants to destroy us. He hates God and will do everything in his power to keep people from following Him. It says in John 8:44, the devil has “... no truth in him... for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Satan can masquerade as an angel of light and will use any means to entice us to sin.
He tempts us to have impure thoughts when we dwell on inappropriate things we've seen on TV, the Internet or magazines. He brings memories or images to our minds of unwholesome things we've seen in the past. Satan is pleased when we give in to lustful temptations. He attacks us when we're weak, tired or lonely. He knows that's when we're the most vulnerable and open to temptation.
The devil is cunning, wicked and deceitful. He can be very convincing with the messages he sends to us. We need to be on guard against his evil schemes. He tempts us to keep items we haven't paid for, worry instead of trusting God and be lazy instead of accomplishing what God has planned for us to do. Satan loves to divide people and cause derision. He reminds us of hurtful things others have done to us, and he works to destroy the relationships we have with our families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. He tempts us to speak rudely or take offense easily at something that's been said to us. Satan will do all he can to prevent us from forgiving others and especially ourselves.
We need to escape from the trap of the devil who has taken us captive to do his will it says, in 2 Timothy 2:26. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,” the Bible says in Ephesians 6:12. The devil has limited power in this world, but God is in total control, and one day Satan and his demons will be banished into the lake of fire. We read in Colossians 1:13 that God has “... rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.”
If we want to be free from the sin that enslaves us and have God's power to win over Satan we must submit ourselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee from us, it says in James 4:7. When we ask the Lord Jesus to forgive our sins, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. Now we have His power to help us resist the attacks of Satan. Julie wanted so much to be free from the burden of sin she'd felt all of her life. She longed to be cleansed and have real peace with God. She was ready to give her life over to Him. She'd made her decision and started to pray. Then Lucifer hissed, “No, you must not surrender to God! He wants to control you. He'll ruin your life!” She'd just learned from the sermon that Satan's a liar, so she called on God for the strength that she needed. She continued to pray, “Dear Jesus, I want...” but then stopped when the labor pains started and would not subside. The nurse at the Mission rushed over to help her and stayed with Julie as they rode to the hospital.
The Doctor determined the birth would be soon, but Julie was losing a lot of blood. They were giving transfusions but weren't sure they could save her. The baby was in distress, so the Doctor decided he would need to do a C-section. He gave Julie a reassuring nod as he went to scrub for surgery. She was weak and very concerned for her child, but there was something she knew she needed to do. She’d waited too long to surrender to God. She had to be free from the bondage of sin that had plagued her since birth. She wanted new life in Christ and a home in heaven waiting for her. She knew she must give her life over to God, so she prayed in a voice that was soft but resolved. “Dear Jesus,” she said, “I'm sorry I've sinned against you. Thank you for dying to take the punishment for my sins. I ask you to forgive me, and I surrender my life to you. Amen.”
As the C-section quickly got under way to try to save the baby's life, Julie spoke a few words, and then she fell silent. At that moment, the alarm on her heart monitor went off, and the Doctor shouted, “She's flat lined! Quick get the paddles!” They worked to revive her while delivering the baby, but Julie wasn’t responding to treatment. They'd given up hope of bringing her back when suddenly the infant gave a loud cry. Something inside of Julie stirred; it was a motherly instinct she could not ignore. To their amazement, she opened her eyes and longingly looked for her child. Holding out the baby to Julie, the doctor smiled and announced, “It's a girl!” The new mother was thrilled as she gazed at her daughter. “What will you call her?” a nurse gently asked. “I'm naming her Hope,” she proudly exclaimed, “I've surrendered myself completely to God and for the first time in my life, I finally have hope!”
The last thing that he remembered before he blacked out was his car spinning out of control on the icy road that cold winter morning. As he slowly regained consciousness, he could hear the paramedics frantically trying to reach him inside the vehicle to treat his injuries. They knew they'd need the “Jaws of Life” to free him from his mangled car. Then one of the medics said, “They'd better hurry! I don't know how much longer the man can hold on!”
When he heard the dire words, he was in shock! He wondered if things were really that bad. He knew his injuries were serious, but could he actually die here on this busy highway? His life was fast-paced and had been that way for so many years that he didn't know how to live any other way. He'd been very ill a few times in his life, but he'd never come this close to death until now.
He felt himself drifting in and out of consciousness. The paramedics were very concerned that he was still trapped in his vehicle. They tried to reassure him that he'd be out of there soon, but he didn’t know if he could wait that long. He knew he'd lost a lot of blood and was going into shock. Now that he might be facing death, he realized he'd never taken the time, never really wanted to think about what would happen to him when he died. He had planned financially for his family, but had he prepared for his eternal destination?
He'd been raised to believe if he was good enough, if he weren’t too sinful, he'd make it into heaven. But, he'd been listening to a radio program in his car just before the accident, and it made him question what he'd been taught. He didn't usually tune into a Christian station, but his wife had left it on when she borrowed his car yesterday. His hand reached for the radio so that he could turn to his favorite station, but his interest was piqued when he heard the Pastor say, “There isn't anything we can do to earn our way into heaven being good won't get us there, the Bible says in Ephesians 2:8,9.
In Romans 3:23, it says, we've all sinned, and this separates us from a Holy God. If we haven't confessed our sins to God before we die, we can't go to heaven. Sadly, we'll go to a terrible place of punishment called hell.”
The pastor continued, “God loves us so much, and He wants us to live with Him forever in heaven, so He sent His only Son to die for us. Jesus took the full punishment for our sins on Himself as He hung on the cross suffering in ways we'll never understand. If we ask God to forgive our sins, we're no longer separated from Him and one day we'll see Jesus in heaven. We can't do anything to earn our way there; the Bible says it's a gift of God.” He'd received many gifts in his life. He didn't remember what most of them were now, but this gift of salvation, the forgiveness of sins would last forever.
He began to think about the relationship he had with God. He knew he'd spent his life living only for himself never doing anything to please the Lord. He was sure if he were to die right now, he wouldn't be going to heaven. But, was he willing to confess his sins and let God be in control of his life?
He was trying to come to a decision when he heard a voice call out, “They've cut him out of the car. Let's move! We need to get him onto the stretcher!” They started to lift him when pain gripped his chest, and he felt himself fall into a darkened abyss. As he regained consciousness, he heard the medics say, “We have his heart going again, but he's bleeding profusely from the gash in his leg. I'm not sure he's going to make it!”
“Could I really die today?” he wondered, “I thought I had more time to decide if I should surrender myself to God or choose to spend my life without Him. Am I prepared to go to hell if I die?” The Pastor said it's a place of utter darkness and desolation. There's no love or joy in hell only sadness, crying, and despair. But, Heaven is a place where there's no sin, no pain or tears, only perfect love, peace and joy that will never end. “What I'm excited about the most,” the Pastor said, “is knowing that in heaven, I'll see Jesus face to face.” “Everyone who has prayed to have their sins forgiven will be going to heaven,” he thought, “including my wife and kids. I'm the only one in my family who won't be going there someday.”
The paramedics looked worried as they worked diligently to try to control the bleeding in his leg. “This is it!” he thought, “What a rude awakening. I never thought I would die this young!” Realizing he might go at any moment, he decided to give his life to God. He wanted to feel real peace inside and be free from the guilt of all his sin. He knew that whether he survived or not, he wanted his life to be right with God. He was sorry he hadn't surrendered to Him years ago, but he was going to do so now.
He closed his eyes and prayed aloud although it was getting hard to breathe and talking was becoming difficult. “Dear Jesus,” he said, “I know I have sinned. I've spent my life wandering far from you, and I want to come home. I ask for your forgiveness, and I give my life to you.” He opened his eyes and smiled. He felt a peace wash over him that was unlike anything he'd ever known. He thought of how excited his wife would be when she heard he'd finally given his life to Jesus. He was thinking about how he'd tell her when his heart stopped beating. The medics tried feverishly to revive him, but he was gone. His body lay on the cold stretcher, but his soul soared instantly to heaven.
The paramedics, bystanders, and emergency workers all stared in shocked disbelief. Then a car raced up to the scene. A woman got out of the vehicle and rushed over to where the paramedics were standing. “Is my husband okay?” she asked, her voice full of emotion. No one wanted to answer her. Then, she noticed a body draped with a white sheet lying near a crumpled car. She hurried over to the vehicle and stared anxiously at the lifeless form lying on the stretcher. She turned and looked at the officer waiting nearby silently pleading with him to give her the answer she so desperately wanted. His eyes showed concern as he lifted the sheet from her husband's face. She started crying and called out, “Oh Paul! I can't believe it! If only you'd given your life to Jesus, then I'd be with you someday in heaven.” Heartbroken, she fell to her knees beside him crying softly now.
Then, she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder. She looked up, and though her vision was blurred by her tears, she saw a man look at her compassionately and say, “I'm one of the medics that took care of your husband. I'm also a Christian, and I want you to know that just before he died, I heard your husband confess his sins to God and give his life to Him.” She was shocked for a moment. Then she slowly smiled tears of joy now flowing down her face. She would miss Paul terribly, but she was thrilled to know she would see him again in heaven someday.