Facing death – too little, too late

Straight Talk

The Question

When one is facing imminent death due to illness and realizes its “time to get right with God,” is it too little too late? Is your sincerity doubted due to what motivates you? I’ve been a good person, on the fence, non-practicing Christian. Is there hope when there is no hope left?

MT from Indiana

The Answer
Part 1: God knows the heart
Part 2: Hope still

God knows the heart (Part 1)

You wonder if your sincerity is doubted, but by whom? Do you mean the people around you like family and friends or do you mean God? If you turn to God now when things are desperate it is true that those around you may doubt your sincerity. But God? No, he will have no trouble because he sees your heart and he knows the root of every motivation, whether pure or false.

The main person you don’t want to fool is yourself. And your question shows that you are dealing squarely with the ambiguity of your own motivation. It is YOU who isn’t sure if you are sincere or not. You wonder if your illness went away if you would still be interested in “getting right with God.” Am I right?

That’s actually a very good place to be by the way. It shows you have some integrity. You don’t trust that a so-called “fox-hole conversion” is real and if it isn’t real it isn’t going to do you any good when you arrive in eternity. So let’s start with what you’ve got. Start with honesty.

Maybe it would help you if I shared that I was in a very similar place when I finally decided in August of 1977 to get right with God. I had thumbed my nose at him for many years until my marriage fell apart and that was the most important thing to me. Being desperate, I asked Jesus to come into my heart but what I really wanted was for my marriage to be okay.

Right away I began to struggle. If my husband came back tomorrow would I still serve the Lord and stick to my decision? No, honestly, I knew I would not. I’d go right back to the way things had been before. But somehow now that was not acceptable anymore. (I didn’t realize it at the time but the Holy Spirit was at work in me shining light on my own deceitful heart.)

It took about two weeks of intense spiritual wrestling but I finally surrendered to God whether or not my marriage was ever saved. The underlying element of the struggle was complete honesty with God. That’s what I suggest to you.

Hope still (Part 2)

You have admitted it to me but now it’s time to have a heart to heart talk with God and admit the same to him. Tell him you doubt your own sincerity. Tell him how you have been on the fence all these years and that if you hadn’t gotten ill you probably still would be. Tell him you realize you have no ability on your own to really get right with him and if it’s going to happen you’ll need his help.

God wants a deep intimate relationship with you. That’s a certainty. He has wanted it from the moment he created you and he wants it still. Regardless of how much time you have left on this earth, God wants to “do your life with you – right by your side.” When life is done, he wants to spend eternity with you. He aches for you, yearns for you. Ask him to help you feel the same way – no matter which way things go.

You have hope still because you realized your spiritual condition while there’s yet time to do something about it. Who do you think got you considering all that? Don’t you think it was the Holy Spirit at work just like it was for me? That’s what I believe. And I also believe you can have the same outcome as me. Are you ready for a wrestling match for your soul? On your mark! Get set! GO!