Most people know about the two criminals who were crucified alongside Jesus and how the one asked Jesus to remember him when He went into His Kingdom. Jesus’ response was “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Lk. 23:43). The idea of being able to accept Jesus even during the last hour of our death shows the remarkable grace of God. I used to be unsure about what I thought about this, but I had the opportunity to pray with a family for a loved one who was on her death bed. I did not know the person or the family, but as I was praying for the lady I found out that she did not know Jesus. She was already in a stage where she could not communicate, but she was clearly in pain and fighting. I prayed and talked to her for a while, but she continued to resist. Finally, I got up and found a spot out of the way in the room. As I stood there watching and praying I asked God to give me a word for this lady to let her know who He was. The words that I got were not the words I wanted to hear, or say for that matter; the words were “elephants” and “bananas.”
I had the words and I stood there and argued with myself and I guess with God, but eventually I knew that I had to share these words with the lady. As I knelt down beside her I did my best to gain her attention and let her know that I needed her to listen to me for a little bit. I told her that I felt like God wanted me to tell her these words and I told them to her. Immediately I noticed that she began to get tears in her eyes and her writhing began to subside. I continued by her side praying and talking with her. She was no longer resisting and no longer seemed to be frightened. As I continued to pray I let her know that she was forgiven and simply prayed blessings over her, which I had previously done with no change in demeanor, but this time she continued to calm and even began raising her arms above her head.
When I talked to the family they all seemed to agree that something happened. Personally I believe wholeheartedly that she gave her life to the Lord in that moment. I do not know with any certainty that this is what happened, but something very clearly changed. She went from writhing in pain, saying “no, no, no” and grimacing while turning her head back and forth as if trying to escape something that was causing her fear to a state of calm with tears in her eyes. I do not know, but I believe that she received Jesus and that He received her. He had received the criminal during his final hour so why should this woman not be received?
God’s love and grace extend past all bounds that we could ever comprehend or even try to put them in. What I know is that I have seen God do amazing things and restore people’s lives on many occasions, but this is probably one of the greatest and most humbling moments that I have ever had. Could our God really care so much that He would give us ever last second that we have to say “yes” and give our lives over to Him? The answer…yes!
God’s love and grace are astounding and they are totally worth surrendering our all for them. My prayer is that everyone would receive Christ into their hearts and follow Him. What is the alternative? Clearly this woman was resisting what I feel was Satan and his demons, but then it all changed and it can change for you too if you do not yet know Jesus. If you do not yet know Jesus as your Lord and Savior then what needs to change in your life? Are you willing to take the chance that you will have an opportunity to say yes like this woman did? Is there something stopping you from saying yes right now? If there is nothing holding you back then simply say yes and receive Jesus into your heart, then find a Bible believing and following church near you and contact them immediately and find someone you know who is a Christian and ask for their help and prayers. You are not in this alone. God loves you and cares for you and is waiting for you to come to Him.