Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into your Kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in Paradise .” [Luke 23:42-43]
Friday, 10 AM…the phone in my office in Brooklyn, New York, was ringing. It was my mother in Florida…telling me that my father was admitted to the hospital the day before, is on a respirator and kidney dialysis for his one remaining kidney…and the doctors want to remove him from life support because the prognosis is terminal. All I could think to cry out in panic was, “NO!…don’t let them do that; I am on my way down!” I knew if they did, my father would be ushered into Hell!
The date was May 6, 1994. I had been praying for my father since the day I was born again on October 17, 1981 [see testimony on this website entitled “Divine Father”]. We were raised Catholic, but my father never wanted to talk about God. He was especially incensed when I told him shortly after my salvation that I had begun tithing; he was ballistic because I was already struggling financially.
I was talking with the cab driver on the way to the airport…it was only 11 AM…
telling him that my father was in the hospital in Florida and that they wanted to remove him from life support and I needed to get down there. He asked me, “What airline?” I replied, “I don’t have a ticket.” He exclaimed in disbelief, “There is no way you are going to get on a plane…especially to Florida! This is Mother’s Day weekend!”
I entered the terminal, and got on a really l-o-n-g line to a ticket agent. All the while, I was just crying out to God, “Please make a way for me to get on a plane! Please don’t let my father pass away before I can get there! Please give me just one more chance to present Your Gospel of salvation to my father!” I just continued to pour out my heart to God as I waited what seemed to be forever on that line!
Finally…I was in front of the ticket agent, and in desperation I just poured out my heart to her concerning my father being in the hospital on his death-bed and my urgent need to get to Florida. She listened patiently, and then replied, “You’re in luck; I have 1 ticket left.” I boarded the plane just thanking and praising the Lord for providing that ticket for me, and continued to cry out to Him the entire trip, “Please don’t let my father pass away before I can get there! Please give me just one more chance to present Your Gospel of salvation to my father!”
The cab driver pulled up at the Hospital entrance and I hurried to the area where my father’s room was located. I saw my mother with my sister, several friends, and several doctor’s huddled together in conference. When I walked into the midst of that conference, they were again strongly recommending that my father be removed from life support…to which I emphatically proclaimed, “We are NOT doing that! No way!” My sister, who was not saved and lived a life of arrogance in the face of God, was pushing my mother to agree to what the doctors were recommending, but I was determined not to let it happen.
The conference over for the time being, we all decided to go to my father’s room. There was no way I was going to be able to talk to him about the Lord…especially with my sister present. I began pleading with God in my heart to make a way for me to be alone with my father, with no one else present. Shortly, we all decided to leave the hospital to have dinner, and then return. As we walked toward the Hospital exit, I kind of lingered behind…and then was prompted by the Lord to turn around and go back to my father’s room.
Finally…I was alone with my father! I took hold of his hand and began to talk to him; he could hear, and understand, what I was saying…and since he could not talk, he would respond when asked by squeezing my hand. The Spirit of God was upon me…I could sense it…and I just presented the thoughts He gave me to present, and spoke the words He gave me to speak…concerning sin and repentance and acceptance of Who Jesus was…the Divine Son in the Triune God, the Lamb of God Who came into this world to become the One only all-sufficient atoning sacrifice that brought forgiveness for his [my father’s] sins and restored his relationship with God. I asked if he would like to receive Jesus as Lord of his life and Savior of his soul. As my father squeezed my hand to say “yes,” I led him in a prayer and he accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. Hallelujah!
I made arrangements with the Hospital to stay with my father in his room that night. Every time he awakened throughout the night, I was there to take hold of his hand to comfort him. In the morning, as I was preparing to leave, my father’s countenance was radiant; I knew he had truly accepted the Lord! That was a confirmation of the Spirit!
I had to leave that Monday to go back to New York, but I was filled with peace and joy! The Lord had graciously answered all of my prayers! My father was saved! On the flight back home, I was just thanking the Lord, and asking if He might raise up my father off his death bed so we could have opportunity to testify together in the presence of the congregation of the Lord’s great name and mighty power. Well…the Lord did not grant that request; my father went home to be with the Lord two weeks later, on May 26th. But it no longer mattered! Hallelujah! Surely, I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving, and come into Your courts with praise…singing songs, hymns, and spiritual songs, and making music in my heart to You, Lord! [Ps 100:4; Eph 5:19; Ps 150]
I don’t know whether in the depths of your heart you really believe there is a God in Heaven or not, but this I do know…my father was dead in his trespasses and sins, but the Lord in His Omniscience knew my father would accept that invitation to accept Jesus on his death-bed. Not willing that his soul would perish, He therefore Personally intervened to stay the hand of death, and wonderfully opened up the way for that one more chance for me to be able to get to Florida and present the Gospel of salvation to my father. Mine was the blessing of being used as a ministering spirit, sent to serve those who are inheriting salvation. [Read John 9:1-41] I proclaim to you Christ Jesus…the One Who existed from the beginning, from Eternity Past, Whom I have heard with the ears of my own inner being, and have seen with my own spiritual eyes. I have gazed upon Him and have spiritually touched Him with my own hands. He is the Word of Life. His Life is continually being revealed to me; I have seen it and testify to it, and I proclaim to you that He is the One Who is Eternal Life. He always existed with the Father, and is now continually being manifested afresh and anew to me. I proclaim to you what I have personally seen and heard in the depths of my soul, so that you also may enjoy this same fellowship together with us. The fellowship I continually enjoy is with the Father and with His Son, Christ Jesus. I am writing these things so that you also may fully share together with me in this fullness of joy. [1 John 1:1-4]. It is our birth-right as a child of the Most High God!