Suppose you were asked to meet someone who has a terminal illness. He has just been told he has 30 days to live, and has never had a saving relationship with the Lord. He’s lived his whole life of 60 plus years on his own terms, and now must come to grips with the reality that he will not die on those same terms.

As a Christian, what would your mindset be? Would you arm yourself with an assortment of ‘salvation scriptures’ and prepare to do battle with the enemy over this lost soul? 

What would you say to them? Would you tell them “you better get right” or you’ll go to Hell? Or would you tell them how sorry you were that this sickness had invaded their body?

I’ve been struggling with these questions all day today (Friday, March 6) after spending a few brief minutes with this man, his wife, my pastor, and another visitor in his hospital room. It really wasn’t much of a visit, as the man spent the time we were there leaning over a tub because he felt so nauseous.

Try as I might, I didn’t have the answers to the questions I spent the better part of the day pondering. To say this was unsettling to me would be a gross understatement. Additionally, my inability to make sense of how a man can be so close to eternity yet still resist the loving pull of the Holy Spirit unnerved me.

To be sure, this man has had the way of salvation explained to him in a very simplistic manner. My pastor made sure of that during a couple of prior visits. After living his life in the manner he chose to, this poor man likely never gave God a second thought in his lifetime. For certain, this was his first time ever hearing that Jesus Christ loved him enough to die for him.

He knows he is lost. He has been told that there are only two ‘final destinations’ for all of us, and he says he understands this.

Fast forward to today (Tuesday, March 10th). Debbie and I were asked by our pastor to provide lunch today for this man’s wife, who is unable to drive and thus cannot leave the hospital in search of something to eat. (For reasons we still do not understand, this hospital does not give a food tray to the spouse-even the spouse of a dying man). So Debbie prepared a nice lunch and off we went, back to the hospital.

We entered the room and we were pleased to see this gentleman able to sit up in his bed. After a bit of small talk I asked if there was anything we could do for them. The wife whispered the word “PRAY” to me, and surprisingly the man also said we could pray. Standing next to his bedside, I reached for his hand and was deeply moved by how firmly he grabbed my hand.

My prayer was a simple one. I asked our kind and loving God to have mercy upon this man. I asked Him to open his eyes, his mind, his heart, and his soul to God. I asked for comfort, for peace in his heart that surpasses all understanding, and I asked God to speak into this man’s heart the words of eternal life.

So, about those questions above, I believe I now have the answers, at least partially. I believe our reaction to someone in this condition must be to show them the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. No judgement is required or necessary, nor is there time to waste on it. He doesn’t need a judge, he needs a Savior. Whatever his past life has been like, none of that really matters at this point. The ONLY thing that matters is that he knows he has a Savior that loves him.

Finally, I think the God of heaven looked down on this poor man (me) and figured I needed to be reminded of just how blessed I am. I’d like to think that we were given a unique opportunity to do nothing for this man and his wife except to show them they are loved. No speech, no lesson, no sermon, just love.

The Bible speaks of this life as being like a vapor. Compared to eternity, even someone’s life that reaches 100 is but a passing vapor. Imagine then, how quickly will 30 days pass?

I humbly ask that you would remember this man in your prayers. I won’t mention his name, for God already knows him very well.

Ron