Bob Miller ~ Clyde, Ohio

My father, Ernie, was a volunteer fireman for 37 years. Often they entered dark buildings filled with flames, smoke, and heat. Sometimes, people died.

Ernie was a good fireman. He was also a good church member. He insisted his good life would be acceptable before God. Later in life he developed lung cancer. Again when approached about his need of being saved through the Lord Jesus who suffered for sins on the cross, he became irritated and said, “ I am hoping the good Lord will accept me the way I am.”

            When his cancer made him weaker, I quoted, “When we were yet without strength in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). But, Ernie refused to see his spiritual need.

Then, one day he told the nurse he had pain and wasn’t getting his strength back. She explained, “Ernie, that is part of the process. You will not get your strength back. You will get weaker and weaker. We spend all our life depending on our own strength, now it’s time to depend on the Lord.” He put his head back on the pillow and tears rolled down his cheek. He knew he was without strength.

            One day a preacher asked him if he was ready to die. Again he said, “I am trusting the Lord to accept my good life.“ The preacher said. “I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that you can never be good enough to earn your way to heaven. The good news is that the Lord does not require a good life to get to heaven. He has done it all by paying for sins with His death on the cross. We can go to Heaven by simply trusting in Him.” He then asked Ernie “How good a person does one have to be in order for a fireman to rescue them?”

“We rescue any one we can.” Ernie replied. The preacher explained that it is equally true with God. He will save anyone who will let him.

            Ernie started to have nightmares. He became delirious due to pain medication and weakness. Sometimes he called for help. One night he begged me to get him out of “that place.” It tormented him. It seemed like he was dreaming of hell. The fireman was now the one who needed to be rescued.

“Dad,” I said, “I cannot get you out.”

He looked at me with terror. “You can’t help me?” he cried.

“Only the Lord can help you,” I exclaimed.

He began to cry repeatedly, “Oh, God help me!” I began to cry to God to for the salvation of my father.

Then suddenly, Ernie said, “Thank You Lord. Thank You.” He seemed to get peace. The next morning, he remembered the nightmare vividly and wanted the assurance that the Lord would never allow him to be in “that place.” I showed him that God promises, “He that believeth on the Him is not condemned” (John 3:18). Ernie received peace with God that night. He lived six more weeks and never suffered any more tormenting dreams. Thank God He was saved at the very end. I’m sure he’d agree that is a dangerous thing to do. As God says, “Behold NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).