A real nice guy in his late fifties visited a local hospital for his yearly checkup, and as a result of this visit he was found to have a terminal illness with approximately three to six months to live.
This nice guy was reverently respected in the small town where he lived. His associations with practically every benevolent activity in the town and country where he lived had been instrumental in this appropriate label of him being a "real nice guy."
Further, he was noted for his character of honesty, and loyalty to his job; and his lifestyle, which was void of drinking, smoking and foul language, further confirmed this image.
He was also a deacon in his local church, a tither, and possibly one of a very few deacons in the whole area that could qualify as being a deacon.
Soon after he was diagnosed as terminally ill, he was hospitalized for his remaining time on earth.
Being a very thoughtful and methodical man, he reassessed his situation to see if he owed anyone anything or had an borrowed goods or tools that he hadn't returned.
This being cleared in his mind, he examined his spiritual situation and couldn't find any inconsistencies that needed changing; however, there was an inner restlessness, an inner tenseness he didn't understand. So he called his pastor and confidentially shared everything, including this inner spiritual void he was experiencing. His pastor reassured him that because he had been baptized, confirmed, and had been a loyal church member he had nothing to fear.
The man accepted his pastor's explanation, but his inner agony only increased, so when his pastor visited again in a couple of weeks he presented somewhat more urgently his inner feeling of not being ready to die. A further explanation from his pastor only momentarily satisfied him because he couldn't gain the peace nor assurance that he was ready to meet God.
The time came when the nice guy knew instinctively he would not live very long. A final visit of his pastor came, and with great disgust and despair he turned his back on the pastor as the pastor arrived in his hospital room. In his personal agony he kept his face to the wall as the pastor asked God to honor Mr. Nice Guy's church membership.
The nice guy started slipping toward the darkness of death without God, a numbness crept over his body, and he knew this was the end.
Soon the brown-eyed evening nurse, making her rounds, saw his state of comatose settling in, and prayerfully she whispered clearly but ever so gently in his ear, "Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." With his last ounce of courage he mumbled his call to the Lord, and immediately he sensed a force leading him toward a loving, smiling figure with outstretched, nail-scarred hands.
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