Comments from Dr. Dave Walker, author of God in the ICU
Paul watched Stephen being stoned and praying for the Father to forgive those who hurled the stones. It made a deep impression on him.
I read of a missionary who became convinced that he was not truly born again when he heard the Moravians on board praising God with all their hearts as their battered ship, on which he cowered in terror, plunged through a storm that seemed certain to destroy them.
I have written about the Elim Missionaries in Zimbabwe who were brutally murdered by Freedom Fighters, but who, to the astonishment and anger of the leader, having been permitted to pray before being bludgeoned to death, prayed not for themselves, but for forgiveness for their murderers. Such was the effect that, in the following months, the whole band -- about twelve in all -- came to bow before the Cross.
I have heard unverified stories of the powerful impact of some of the Christians being beheaded in Syria and Iraq.
In praying for patients in ICU who have died, there have been occasions when I have been supernaturally aware of Jesus. I was praying for a young man who suffered a massive pulmonary embolus and was dying. It was apparent that only a miracle would save him. Suddenly, Jesus was there. I didn't see His features, but there was a definite Person -- a glorious person, not shining or dramatically radiant, but emanating pure goodness and love --standing beside the bed. The man's heart stopped and he was gone, as was Jesus. It was over in less time than it takes to tell it, but has lived with me ever since.
You can make dying people comfortable, deal with their physical and emotional pain, fix their fractures, both of their bones and their relationships, and these are all very good things to do. Yet a time comes when the person has to travel the journey alone. You can walk with them through the tearing from their loved ones, or the mourning of their losses and ease them with understanding and compassion, but when they come to cross the line, to draw in a tired breath and sigh it out for the last time, you have to leave them to walk across alone.
You cannot go with them. Yet there is someone who can be with them in all that you do for them on this side and then, as you have to let go, take them by the hand, and lead them through the dark, cold corridor of transition and into the presence of God.
His name is Jesus. Only He can go all the way. To introduce a dying person to Jesus is the best thing by far that we can do for them. All else stops at the body of the stilled heart.