“My dad is not expected to live,” Bill told his pastor. “I’ve shared with him many times how he can simply ask Jesus to forgive his sins and then he’ll know he’s going to heaven when he dies, but he hasn’t ever asked. I’m so anxious for him to do this. Please, Pastor Johnson, would you do me a big favor and go talk to him?”
The pastor went to Hank immediately, but his eyes were closed and he seemed very weak. Silently he prayed this dying man would still be able to hear and communicate with him. Leaning closely, Pastor Johnson took his feeble hand and explained who he was and why he had come.
Having received no acknowledgment of his presence, the pastor wondered what he could do. Finally he said, “If you can hear me, just squeeze my hand.” Time seemed to stand still as he waited for a response. Finally he felt it— gentle though it was. Ever so thankful for a response, the pastor proceeded with what he wanted to say.
He shared several verses from the Bible that tell about Jesus who willingly died on a cross for the forgiveness of everyone’s sins and three days later rose from the dead. He said all one had to do was sincerely believe this and ask Him to forgive your sins. Then a home in heaven would be yours when you died. Once again Pastor Johnson said, “If you understand, just squeeze my hand.” As before, the pastor waited for a response. It did not come right away, but once again he felt it.
The pastor went on to say, “Hank, Jesus wants everyone to go to heaven to live with Him. Right now He is in heaven preparing a home for those who have asked for forgiveness.” For a third time he said, “If you understand, just squeeze my hand.” Patiently he waited and then he felt it. This time it was not as strong as before.
Sensing he must leave because Hank was very tired, Pastor Johnson asked one more question, the question he had come to ask. “Would you like Jesus to forgive your sins and take you to heaven? If so, just squeeze my hand.” Now the minutes seemed like hours as he waited for the squeeze of his hand. Would it come? Had Hank really heard and understood? There was no response. He repeated his question. “Would you like Jesus to forgive your sins and take you to heaven? If so, just squeeze my hand.”
And then he felt it.
Three days later Jesus welcomed Hank to his new home in heaven.
With His nail-pierced hands open wide, Jesus comes to each one of us asking those same three questions. “Do you hear me talking to you? Do you understand what you’ve heard? Would you like me to forgive your sins and take you to heaven when you die? If so, just squeeze my hand.”
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