For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)
The piercing tone of the phone shattered the silence of the predawn hours. Instantly, Dawn knew something must be terribly wrong.
“Dawn, wake up! Something’s wrong with your grandfather.” Sensing panic in her mother’s voice, Dawn catapulted from the bed. “I need you to ride with me. Grannie believes Pop is having a heart attack.” Dawn dressed hurriedly and, as if on auto pilot, followed her mother out the front door and into the family’s Pontiac sedan.
Despite traveling well over the speed limit, the journey seemed endless. Fear of the unknown enveloped the car, squelching all conversation. God was the only one who could hear their silent prayers. “Lord, you know I’m not a religious person, but please don’t let my Pop die.” Dawn swallowed her tears so as not to further upset her Mom. The pain in her chest increased with each attempt. God couldn’t allow her Pop to die. Not now. He was her hero. She needed him. “God, PLEASE!!!!!” No one could possibly take her Pop’s place. Besides, who would say the holiday prayer? Though inaudible, she could hear her Pop reciting, “Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Your bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Arriving at the house, Dawn sprung from the still coasting Pontiac and ascended the cement steps at record pace, her Mom close on her heels. Once inside, they observed the paramedics working tirelessly to revive the one they loved -- grandfather and father. God was merciful.
Pop spent several days in Doctors Community Hospital attached to a myriad of machines. With every swish of the pump and chime of the monitor, Dawn thanked God for her Pop’s renewed heartbeat. Doctors described his recovery as unbelievable and clearly miraculous. Certainly the Lord had shined favorably upon him. Pop was being given a second chance at life -- and eternity.
“Who is that?” Dawn didn’t recognize the third person in Pop’s hospital room. Remaining in the hallway, she strained her eyes, hoping to recognize the man in the black suit. From the reflection in the mirror, Dawn caught a glimpse of the white collar. This was no ordinary visitor. It was a priest.
“Can you tell me how I can have the same joy you possess?” Pop asked the priest. Feeling somewhat intrusive, yet curious to hear the priest’s reply, Dawn remained just outside the door. She was within hearing distance, yet paralyzingly still, so as not to be seen.
“My joy is in the Lord, Mr. Morris,” replied the priest. His face was radiant, possessing a smile as wide as the Grand Canyon. “You can have the same joy”, the priest continued. “You need only call upon the name of the Lord, asking forgiveness for your sins, and you can be saved.”
Dawn had never heard such verbiage. How could she make sense of something she couldn’t comprehend? Pop, however, seemed to understand perfectly. Grannie did as well. They both bowed their heads and repeated after the priest, “Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. Thank you for loving me and dying on the cross. I ask you to forgive my sins. Please come into my heart and life and be my Lord and Savior. Amen.”
Thanksgiving found Pop seated at the head of the table, right where he belonged. However, something was different. Pop was different. Dawn had never heard him pray like this before. “Dear Father, thank you for another opportunity to spend time with my family. I thank you for each one of them. I especially thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ. Please bless this food and make us a blessing. Amen.”
Pop died that next April, the day before Dawn’s 18th birthday. The same year, August 30, 1981, Dawn accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior.
Fearing she would never see her Pop again, Dawn prayed and asked the Lord for assurance her Pop was in heaven. God, in his abundance of love, reminded her of the time she spent just outside the hospital door.
Tears welling in her eyes, she thanked the Lord for his gift of salvation. Dawn rejoiced in the knowledge that she would one day hug her Pop again. Only this time, it would be on the shores of heaven.
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