Post from July 8, 2011
Two nights ago, my brother asked me to visit one of his friends (a childhood friend of ours) in the hospital. I was a little confused by the request because I hadn't seen the man he was speaking of for at least 15 years. My brother finally admitted, "I'm concerned for his soul." Who can refuse a request such as this--an invitation to share the gospel? So, to the hospital I went.
Unfortunately, my brother's friend (Jeff) was in the ICU in critical condition and unresponsive. I let him know I was there and left him the gospel in the form of a tract. I have visited twice now with little response (or capacity to respond) either time.
I left there pleading with God to have mercy on this young man (37) and allow him the opportunity to hear the gospel one more time. I also left there with a heavy heart and renewed desire to share the gospel with those I know while there is still time.
Post from July 15, 2011
I mentioned last Friday that I visited my brother's friend in the hospital. I visited two times. On both visits, Jeff (my brother's friend) was unresponsive (awake but not able to communicate, he had spent some time without oxygen to his brain, and there was the appearance of brain damage). At the point I first visited him, he had been in the ICU at the hospital for 12 days.
I also mentioned that I left the hospital (on both accounts) pleading with God to have mercy on him and allow him to hear (and understand) the gospel one more time.
I stopped back today, a week from my first visit. I was very self-conscious about visiting him for the third time when I hardly knew him. I considered leaving at least three times while I was in the waiting room (waiting for the nurse to give me the clearance to go in and visit him).
When I arrived in the room, I was amazed to find Jeff alert and responsive. We had a lengthy conversation. I was able to share the gospel with him and pray for him.
In the beginning of our conversation I said, "Jeff, God kept you alive for a reason."
He said, "Well if he did I don't know what that reason would be."
I said, "Jeff, if you had died when they first brought you into the hospital, would you have been ready to meet God?"
He said (most emphatically), "No!"
I said, "Well, I think that might be your reason right there."
I left Jeff with some literature about the gospel, and he invited me to stop back and visit next week. I pray God grants him the gift of repentance.
This time, I left the hospital overwhelmed by the mercy and kindness of a great God who hears our prayers.
Post from December 16, 2011
I was able to visit Jeff one more time in July. On that visit, he was recovering from his illness and was moved out of ICU. We had just a short visit as his parents were visiting him at the same time, and I spent some time catching up with them as well. I stopped by a few days later and Jeff had been released from the hospital. I was told the doctors were calling it a "miracle recovery". I knew God had answered my prayer. He allowed Jeff another opportunity to hear the gospel message.
Last Sunday my brother told me Jeff was in the hospital again in a similar situation to the one he was in back in July. I stopped to see him on Monday (he was in the ICU), and he was unresponsive and not doing well physically. They had put him on life support. I stopped to see him on Tuesday and found much of his family in the room, saying their goodbyes. Jeff died on Tuesday evening, and I will be attending his funeral soon.
As God knew the outcome of Jeff's situation long before I did, I continue to praise Him for allowing Jeff the opportunity to hear the gospel again. I marvel at God's goodness to us and His faithfulness in answering prayer. May I never hesitate to share the gospel again (Oh, please Lord). Amen.