Last Friday night George was in excruciating pain. And it didn’t seem to matter how many times someone pushed the pain med button it wasn’t enough. He was pleading with the nurses to make it stop and praying to God to take him. It was painful just to witness.
I asked George if we could pray and he said, Please! We prayed and the peace of God seemed to fill the room. George found some relief. You could tell the pain was still there but so was the peace. We read Psalm 23 and he found comfort in it. There was a noticeable difference that came over him. I began to remind him that none of us are good enough to be saved. It is only by God’s grace we are saved. It is His free gift to us; we can’t earn it or deserve it. It is by grace through faith. It wasn’t anything I did or we did but–God was bringing him divine comfort.
I don’t remember who said it or how it came up but somehow we decided to sing. We sang Jesus Loves Me, his favorite song. This was a song he’d sung to his kids many times as he tucked them into bed. And now on his deathbed it gave him comfort. It is truth and he recognized it as such.
When we finished he said, Sing some more. We sang Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found was blind but now I see. George began to rest in those truths and the difference in his countenance and agitation was profound. It was amazing and it was divine.
I should tell you that I was telling one of my accountability partners about this and he asked, Are you sure he wasn’t pressing the pain button BECAUSE you were singing. And how do you know he wasn’t? Everybody needs a friend who doubles as a comedian.
George was still in a lot of pain but here is what I want you to know. George said he was ready to go. He was at peace and you can’t fake that or pretend in that situation. I’ve had the privilege of being with many people as they are near death. You either are ready or you are not and he was ready.
I shared this because the family asked me to share it. I think they thought it might bless you to know where he was at mentally and spiritually as he struggled mightily with his uncooperative body. I think George would want you to know, this faith in God—it is real. It can bring you comfort and hope in your darkest hour. And I think he would want you to take heart in what gave him peace, and that is that our right standing with God isn’t based on our own righteousness—if it was we would all fail that test. It is based on faith. Faith is living in the in-between of not knowing everything but knowing the One who does and that is Jesus.
I think George knew going into the hospital that the scriptures taught we are saved by grace through faith but he proved he believed it when his life was on the line. I think he would want you to know that because you never know when you will face your own crucible. The only thing we know for certain is that you will. And when you do remember this story. Jesus will be there and He will walk with you through your valley of the shadow.