I want to know I will go to heaven when I die
The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
A recent encounter with someone dying of cancer reminded me of the stubborn rebellion of the natural man.
A man and wife came into my office, literally wringing their hands with anxiety. They had been married for many years and one of them had recently been diagnosed with cancer. The doctors told them there was nothing to be done so they came to me seeking solace.
After introductions, the individual with cancer got right to the point. They* wanted to know how they could be sure they would go to heaven when they died. The look of fear in their eyes and the pleading in their voice made me hope I would be able to give them the answer they sought. However, after asking a few questions it became clear they were not born again. Indeed, when I asked them why God should let them into heaven, they remained silent for a long moment before replying, "I don't know."
I preceded to share the gospel with both of them but it seemed the message of salvation in Jesus Christ fell on deaf ears. I opened the Scripture and covered all the salient points as plainly as possible but I could see, to them, I was speaking a foreign language. I concluded the interview by assigning some "homework" urging them to read the gospel of John and return to see me the next day.
The following afternoon only one showed up. I feared the worst, but was told the person with cancer had stayed home. Moreover, their spouse had come to see me not to hear more about the gospel but to tell me what they wanted me to say to their loved one. They placed their hands on the edge of my desk and leaned toward me (perhaps attempting to present a menacing presence). They told me their spouse was a good person and that it was wrong to scare them with this talk about Jesus dying on the cross and hell and all that stuff. In reply I assured them I understood their concern, agreeing that death apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ was a terrifying prospect. Nonetheless, I would be doing a grave disservice to both of them if I did not speak the truth. This did not satisfy them - and yet they agreed to return with their spouse the next day at an appointed time.
Unfortunately, they did not arrive at the agreed hour. I waited in my office for about thirty minutes but when they did not show up I left to complete my afternoon rounds. I returned later to find a note had been slipped under the door telling me they were sorry to have missed the appointment and would be back at the same time on another day next week.
Since then, I have been praying for this couple and I am hopeful the Holy Spirit will open their eyes to the truth before they return to see me. It would be wonderful to have them arrive at my office brimming with the faith only God can supply. It would be tremendous if they were ready to acknowledge their sins, repent and confess Jesus Christ as Lord, believing that God has raised him from the dead.
As I thought about this man and wife I was struck by their stubborn rebellion even in the face of certain death. The individual suffering from cancer was less belligerent than the (physically) healthy spouse but the truth is both of them willfully refused the duty of submission to God in Christ. Yet, their attitude is the norm. Indeed, even among Christians, a resistance to God's plain truth is all too common.
Please pray with me for this couple. Pray that God will enable them to embrace salvation in Christ. And please pray for me, a most imperfect vessel, that I may serve God in bringing the message of salvation to the needy people I encounter on a daily basis.
*I have used gender neutral pronouns to protect the privacy of the parties involved, not because this was a same sex couple
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