“I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing
at the right hand of God.”
Acts 7:56 (NIV)
I learned about the man from his daughter whom I knew. She had asked us to pray for him as he was in 4th stage liver cancer and in need of the grace of God. We most willingly prayed for not only the man but his entire family.
It seemed too early for him to leave us as he was not even a senior citizen. Illness had cut short his working life. He had worked hard and willingly to help give his younger brothers the opportunity to go to university and get ahead in life in a way he denied himself on their behalf.
One day I was speaking to his daughter and inquiring about how her father was doing. In the course of the conversation I asked her if anyone was visiting him to pray and read his beloved Bible to him? She sadly answered that her father, who had done so much visitation of the sick and needy in his day, was now left to fend for himself in his time of need.
I then asked her if she would let him know that I would be privileged to visit with him and share from the Scriptures. She did and soon I was driving to his home for a visit. While I had not met the man until this time, I certainly had heard about how much he had done to encourage the downhearted, how he was the one to shovel the snow at his church early on snowy Sunday mornings before the others arrived, and so on. In many ways behind the scenes he was the tower of strength for others.
When I arrived I was greeted warmly by his gracious wife and escorted to his sunroom where he was seated. We greeted each other and as the conversation progressed I soon felt I was with a long lost friend. Little did I know that I was in for many visits in the home to enjoy the society of a genuine saint of God. We sang God’s praise from the little black hymnal used by his group of churches, I always read from the Bible, spoke on the verses read and we prayed together.
The day before he passed I was with him alone and he said to me, “Brother Gordon it is time I went home.” I assured him that I agreed with him. I spoke of how the angels would come right into his bedroom and greet him with encouraging words. I told him that the angels would strengthen him for the journey home just as Jesus was strengthened by the angel in Gethsemane before He died on the cross (Luke 22:43).
As simply as possible, I made it clear from the Bible how no child of God dies alone. He would be escorted to heaven just as the poor man Lazarus was in Luke 16:22. I suggested that he might even see Jesus as he was leaving this life in the same way Stephen did as recorded in our verse for today. He was much comforted and certainly at peace.
Is this your hope when you come to leave this life? Would you be as confident as my friend described above? If not, why not? He had a life full of kindness and grace towards others but he knew his only hope of entrance to heaven was by believing in Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. Jesus calls all of us to come to Him and receive eternal life as a gift. We all are too poor to buy His favour but He offers it without price. Come and come now.