Dress Rehearsal

"People receive healing by doing something they believe in and something that gives them hope."

-Dr. Bernie Siegel


The call was urgent and I rushed to the hospital to pray for an individual who was in very critical condition. This was Mr. Jackson’s second open-heart surgery in eleven years and the doctors were not giving this seventy-three year old much hope. When I visited him in intensive care the urgency of his situation caused me to think, "This may be the last time I ever see him alive so I must make sure he is prepared to face eternity.” “Mr. Clayton,” as I often called him, “if you don’t survive this surgery where will you go?” He gave me an honest reply, “I don’t know.” We prayed together and he accepted Christ as his Savior right there in his hospital bed.

The next day when I arrived at the hospital the family was in the waiting room. His wife was visibly shaken so I sought to reassure her, "In the face of uncertainty there is nothing wrong with holding on to hope.” I wanted to encourage her to trust God and look to Him. “No one,” I said, “can diagnose a person’s will to live, one’s faith or the mercy of God, so don’t give up." God was prompting me to say these things and I felt confident as I spoke. There were some among the family and friends who thought that I may be creating a false sense of hope for this troubled lady.


The surgery was successful and he recovered quickly, faster than anyone could have imagined. It was truly a miracle. A few days after he arrived home I sat at my desk and wrote these words to Mr. Jackson, "Illness is simply a dress rehearsal for death, and death is the ultimate end that we must all face. It becomes the channel through which we realize our frailty and the momentary nature of our existence upon this earth. It's a signal or warning given to us by God's mercy, so we can prepare our hearts for the inevitable day when we will depart from the temporary and enter the eternal. Many while preparing to face death find life, and many while preparing for the end discover a new beginning through God's grace and healing power.” Mr. Clayton’s new beginning came when he gave his life to Christ the night before he faced a surgery that few thought he would survive. With God nothing is impossible.

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