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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Traveling First Class to Heaven

Cal went to heaven last night. He traveled there first class.

Lung cancer claimed Cal’s life, but it didn’t destroy his faith in Christ. After being rushed to the hospital last week with a collapsed lung, he was hooked up to a lung machine, and his lung reinflated. However, he and his wife both knew he would not survive long without the life-sustaining tube that stretched from the machine to his side.

At times Cal’s breathing was labored, but at other times he was able to speak with a strong, clear voice. Much of the time he used his voice to share the gospel with the attending medical staff and to express the firm confidence that he would soon be in heaven. He kept a stack of checks at his bedside, and encouraged staff and visitors to take one. Each check was issued by “The Bank of Eternal Life” and was payable to “Whosoever Believeth” (John 3:16). Its sum was “Eternal Life,” and it was “signed” by “Jesus Christ.”

Cal and his wife Eileen joined a church I pastored in Colorado Springs a few years ago. Every Sunday, when I greeted Cal at church, I would ask how he was, and he would reply, “I never felt better. I never have a bad day. Praise the Lord!”

When I called Cal the other day, he answered the phone and told me he and Eileen were discussing funeral plans. “They give me about five days,” he said in a firm, triumphant voice.

As it turned out, he had only one more day. In a matter of hours, after the tube was removed from his side, he passed into the presence of Christ. He used his last few breaths to share the gospel with the attending doctor.

Yes, Cal traveled first class to heaven.

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