Final words of a dying Christian
Here is something I read on Facebook.
Final words of a dying Christian
2 weeks ago I was sitting in a conference and I got a text that said, “Hey Britt- I’m leaving MD Anderson today for what will most likely be my last couple of weeks at home with my family. Very soon I will be in heaven. I’ve had an amazing spiritual breakthrough in my life that I want to share with you. This newfound realization about my salvation is so powerful that I wanted to tell you about it so that you could share it with everyone when I’m gone. Could you come over this weekend?”
I was having a great time with friends and when I glanced down at that text it wiped the smile off my face and my heart fell. Ken was a cancer researcher- one of the best in his field -diagnosed with a profoundly aggressive and rare cancer at around the age of 40. He was reaching the height of his career and speaking before congressional committees over his research, and at the peak of his physical shape, an Ironman. After a 2 year brutal battle, he had finally qualified for an experimental drug that we had all hoped would buy him more time with his “3-pack.”
I was filled with such fear and trepidation walking up to his front door because I hadn’t seen him in weeks, I knew he was nearing the end, and I wasn’t sure what I would find. But the house was alive with lights and laughter. Laurel was cleaning up dinner and the kids and dogs were running through the house and there was such a spirit of joy that I immediately relaxed. He was sitting in his chair, on oxygen, and already a very soft spoken man, I had to curl up on the floor right next to him to hear what he wanted to tell me.
He struggled to talk and had to stop at the end of every sentence to catch his breath. But he radiated with such peace and happiness and while Laurel took the kids to another room, I sat and hung onto every word.
He began to share that he had been raised in church his whole life. His mom was a Sunday School teacher, he “knew” the Bible, and when it came to “religion” he had it down. But in the wake of his diagnoses, he had been struggling each day- finding himself asking God to forgive him for various things. He’d ask over and over and never felt any sort of resolve. Until a good friend (and, oh how I wish I knew who it was so I could thank him) who understood the gift of Jesus sat down with him a few days before and gently and “scientifically” walked him through the Gospel. Starting in the Old Testament with the blood sacrifices of animals that God once required and weaved his way through the glorious beauty of the New Testament where God sent his Son, Jesus, as the ultimate sacrifice- the free gift that is offered to every single one of us- the perfect and final sacrifice. And for the first time, even through years of “religion,” Ken understood what Redemption meant. How undeserved and unmerited grace works- requiring nothing but a free exchange. An old ugly, sinful heart and life – even in its best state, worth no more than a pile of filthy rags-in exchange for forgiveness and undeserved grace and mercy and no more condemnation.
Even as a man whose life was filled with “church and religion” he could barely wrap his mind around the fact that Someone had already paid the consequences for his sin on the cross and that he was experiencing the joy and “freedom” that comes with discovering an intimacy with a Holy God. He said it was like having a ton lifted from his shoulders.
He said, “I’ve been so excited to tell everyone – you’re the 18th person I’ve told this week!” And we both laughed through our tears.
Before I left, I knew it would probably be the last time I saw him on this side of eternity and I asked him, “Knowing that you’re facing death, what is something you would tell me that you wish you had done or known sooner?”
And- literally, without hesitation he said.
“One: love God. Don’t wait until your deathbed to get to truly know him and study His Word. I wish I had studied His Word and had a deeper understanding earlier.
Two: love your family and make sure that they love Jesus.
Three: love your friends and tell them the Gospel.”
Those words have tumbled through my heart every day since I walked out of his house. We prayed together and asked that God would open doors and bring him opportunities to share his story until the very end. And he made me promise to “tell all the neighbors” about what God had done in his life.
As I was leaving, he said, “I’ll see you on the flip side!”
Yesterday afternoon, Ken passed away and while my heart grieves deeply, I know that he got to stand before his Heavenly Father and personally thank Him for giving him time to get his life right with his wife, his kids, and His Savior before He called him home. He’s running again- with a healed body and he finished his race here strong. I have no doubt that he heard, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!!”
I will forever be grateful that Ken touched my life -his impact here will reverberate through eternity.
Most importantly, he taught me that while God doesn’t promise us we will be without heartache and suffering as Believers- He does promise those who are His children, that He will use every bit of it for our good and for His glory.
See you on the flip side, Kenneth Scott!