By: Gene Ferdig

Do you have a fear of dying?  Read how you can be set free of that fear.

I worked with Gene for about 13 years. He had fought with cancer for nearly that long. In February 1989, Gene was admitted to the hospital. Upon visiting him, I had taken a New Testament bible. After swapping casual conversation, I asked Gene if he had the assurance of salvation - knowing Christ as his Savior. I didn't want him to die without having an opportunity to receive Christ as his Savior. He was too special to me.

"Thanks for your concern, but I'm all set," was his reply.

I then felt to share with him my own assurance of salvation hopefully as an encouragement to him, and I told him I loved him in the Lord and was concerned for his soul. He started eating his lunch then, not wanting to hear anymore, and thanked me for coming.

I thanked the nurse for letting me see him and left the New Testament bible with a salvation tract inside as a bookmark. I also wrote a couple of scriptures inside the cover and asked him to read them, which he assured me he would. They were: If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation (Romans 10:9-10 NAS). For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16 NAS).

On Monday, June 19, 1989, I received a call at work from Ron, a friend of Gene's. Ron had visited him over the weekend. Gene had told him that he wanted to see me. I told Ron I was on my way, knowing this might be my last time to see Gene alive. I felt like I wanted someone to go with me, and a good Christian friend and fellow co-worker, Marv Van Voorst, happened to be in his office. I quickly filled him in on the details of the situation and asked him if he'd come along with me, which he agreed to.

We walked into Gene's room and I saw that he was much worse than the first time I had visited him. He was on oxygen and he looked troubled. I opened the conversation by asking him how he was.

"I'm dying . . . and I'm scared . . . and confused."  He repeated this two or three times.

I asked softly, "If you die, do you believe you are going to heaven?"

He looked at me somberly and replied, "I hope so."

I said, "Gene, that's not good enough! Do you believe in Jesus?"

"Yes," he replied softly.

I then began to explain God's plan of salvation and told him I knew Jesus and I knew - not hoped - I was going to heaven. I said, "Gene, you don't have to hope. God wants you to be at peace and know." Then I said, "Do you believe Jesus died on the cross for you and rose again in three days?" He said he did. Then I asked, "Do you want to accept Jesus into your heart right now?"

"Yes . . . but I've done some bad things in my life. I don't know if Jesus will want me."

"Have you ever heard of the Apostle Paul? Saul and the Apostle Paul were one and the same person. Saul persecuted and had Christians killed until Christ got his attention. Then God used him mightily, preaching the word of God. If God forgave Saul, can't He forgive you?" His reply was "Yes."

Then Marv and I held Gene's hands, and upon Gene's request, we prayed. I prayed the salvation prayer, which Gene repeated. He humbled himself before God and admitted to Him that he was a lost sinner that the Bible says we all are, and that he could not save himself, which the Bible also says.

He asked God's forgiveness and asked Him to accept him as a child of His. He thanked Him for dying on the cross in his place and for His resurrection.

After Gene said "Amen," Marv felt to pray. He prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for what had just taken place. He asked God to give Gene peace in his heart and a confidence that Christ can only give. He prayed, "Lord, build a fence of protection from your holy angels to keep the devil away, and use Gene for your glory. And Lord, we bind the spirit of fear, and loose the spirit of peace and joy in our brother."

Then I said, "Gene, you don't have any reason to worry now. You are a child of God, written in the Lamb's book of Life. In fact, Jesus is so intimate with what has just happened here that He's probably in our midst. In fact, He's probably sitting in that chair right beside your bed."

What Gene said next we were not quite prepared for. "No He's not." With eyes fixed in a gaze, he continued, "I can see Him just as plain as I can see you and Marv, and I'm kneeling at His feet right now."

Evidently God was allowing Gene to experience something in the spirit dimension. Rather than disrupt this precious intimacy between Gene and the Lord, Marv and I just stood there praising the Lord and rejoicing.

As we turned to leave, Marv said laughingly, "Gene, I'm jealous that you're going to be in heaven before I am." Gene just glowed, still smiling with a look of rapture on his face.

A week later, on June 28, 1989, I went back to visit Gene again. I was hoping to see him still confident in Christ. "How are you doing, Gene?"

"Great! Just laying here waitin' for the Lord to come in His Greyhound Bus, or His chariot, to take me home!" he said cheerfully.

All I could say was "Praise God!" because he was so full of peace and the joy of the Lord.

At Gene's funeral not long after, there were two men of God who spoke about Gene. A Catholic priest and a Christian Reformed minister. They both shared about the unbelievable change that had come over Gene his last two weeks on earth. They spoke excitedly of seeing his fear leave, and how Gene was so excited about dying and going home to be with the Lord. And marvel of all marvels, they shared how Gene had actually ministered to THEM, instead of them ministering to him!

Dear Reader - are you at peace with God?  If not, you can be.  Do you know what awaits you when you die?  You can have the assurance from the Holy Spirit that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain.  Either Jesus Christ died for yours sins, or He didn't (He did!).  Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to cover your sins?  We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.

To be at peace with God; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God.  What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one.  Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life. 

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