1 Comment

  1. szterrell says:

    Some years ago (time flies, ya know!) I was a volunteer Assistant under Chaplin Al Sproul at Redlands Hospital. On our days there, we would be given our assignments of which floor and which area to visit. We had previously taken the course plus had meetings to discuss patients’ needs. As I stood in this patient’s doorway, evaluating, I noted he was an older gentleman, and his breathing was very heavy. As I was debating on whether to intrude, he spied me and called out for me to come in.

    Now understand that each of his words was followed by a gasp for air. I doubted that I would stay long in this room. Well, I was wrong. Here is his story told with gasps for air. His wife was in another hospital, not doing well, and he was brokenhearted that he could not be with her. I told him that if he wanted, we would pray and ask Jesus to be by her side to bring her comfort, and assured him that when I left, he could pray for her as well.

    “Oh no,” he gasped. “God won’t listen to me. You don’t know what I have done.”

    I assured him that Jesus died for us, and in dying, He took on our sins. I asked him if I could pray for his wife, which I did. That seemed to take away some of his agitations.

    “Now,” said he between gasps of air, “I need to tell you what horrible thing I did.”

    And tho it took awhile…one word, one gasp, he told me his story. He was a prisoner of war in Germany under the Nazis. While there he was put on duty of burying other prisoners. Only the horrible part that he could not forget or forgive was that the prisoners were still alive. He, along with others on that insane duty, was to throw a type of lime on top of the prisoners that were being buried…alive. By this time the tears were streaming down his face.

    And as God has promised, He gave me all the right words. I assured Him again of Jesus, His love, His forgiveness, and His death on the cross for each one of us. I also assured the big giant teddy bear of a man, that he didn’t willingly kill anyone. By this time, there was no distance between us. I was holding his hand and wiping away his tears.

    “This is for real?” he asked.

    Yes, I replied, this is for real….for you, for me, for everyone that will accept Jesus. He asked that I pray for him as he accepted Jesus. I did, then I told this man all about the glories of heaven and how he would be together with his wife (she loved Jesus) for all eternity. As I was walking out the door, he called me back one more time.

    “Hey Marilyn, would you promise me something? Would you give me the first dance in heaven?”

    That stopped me. I had never thought about that before in such terms. I had told him about the music and the many things we would experience in heaven. So hey, why not?
    I walked back to his bed, took his hand, and said, “I promise you the first dance.” He relaxed and lay back on his bed.

    “Thank you, thank you” he gasped.

    I walked out of that room with tears streaming down my face, knowing that it would happen….I would know the man, and he and I would dance before the throne of God to the music that will be oh-so rich with worship and praise. I will never forget that promise, and I know that he won’t either. Someday……that will be a gift, a heavenly gift. MM


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