WE NEED NOT BE AFRAID OF DYING

If you are a Christian and have accepted Christ as your Savior, I have heard so many stories that true believers die peacefully. There have been times I have been fearful and prayed and received unbelievable courage. I read about some in the Bible that had courage beyond description. The Israelites would go into battle knowing that God would protect them and they would win. Faith determines confidence!

I want to share some families stories that we know are accurate showing how God works in times of crises. Recently, one of my cousins who I was close to, passed away. We had two summer jobs together. We played baseball in college. He was older and someone I always looked up to. He was everyone’s friend. Later in life he was called to be a minister and I was just out of the Navy studying to get a degree so if I had to go back into the Navy, it would be as an officer and not as an enlisted man. Thus, the reason we were in college together at the same time. He spent about 40 years as a minster before retiring.

He had a dream, while living in Idaho, that took place in Alaska. He did not know why he was there but he was walking past a train and a stranger got off and asked if he could walk with him. They walked quite a ways and the man said: you do not know who I am, do you? My cousin said no. He said I am Jesus. My cousing asked: “Are you my Jesus?” He said he was. My cousin said: “Will I go to heaven because my attitude is not always what it should be?” He said: “Yes, you were forgiven a long time ago.” Jesus told him he was going to take him to Heaven. He asked Jesus if his wife was going with him. Jesus said no, she must stay a while longer. However, there will be a time when all three of us will walk together.

My cousin was in poor health and was in a nursing and rehab facility. He fell and was taken to the hospital for diagnosis. The only thing they found was a very serious blockage of the bowels. The doctor said if we do not operate you may only have hours to live. If we operate, you will wear a bag outside for the rest of your life. He told the doctor the Lord was waiting for him and he did not want the operation. He peacefully passed away the next day.

My wife’s father was a minister.  He passed away in 1974.  This was said in the hospital.  Dad had a massive heart attack and then two years later another. When he was in the hospital dying, Mom was standing by his bedside, I wasn’t there. She told me later what he did. He reached over and took her hand, looked up into her eyes and said: “You know Honey, I have preached it all of my life and now that I am here, it’s real!” With that, he went to be with the Lord. When the time comes, will you be ready to meet the Lord?

An aunt and uncle were seriously injured passing over a railroad crossing and were hit by a train near Olympia, Washington. My aunt was in serious condition. A cousin and his wife arrived from Ontario, Oregon where he was a minister. He told his mother not to worry, everyone in his church and Christians all over the district were praying for her. She said, “I am praying that God will take me home. Now whose prayers do you think He is going to answer?” That night she passed away approximately 2:00 a.m. My cousin’s daughter who was 12 at the time, said that an image of her grandmother came to her and sat on her bed and said, “Do not worry, I am going now. Be a good girl, I want to meet you in heaven.” She was then gone. The next morning at 6:00 a.m. My cousin called the friends where his children were staying. He told them that his mother had died. They said, “We know about it, your daughter had awakened us early this morning and told us that her grandmother came to her last night to say goodbye.”

I have seen and heard so many supernatural stories that increased my faith tremendously. Let me share some more.

My grandfather, on my mother’s side, was a part-time preacher and a farmer. This wasn’t unusual as our family tree shows that our family came to Pennsylvania in 1709 to a Quaker settlement. Many generations of our family were farmer/preachers. One was a general during the Civil War. Our fathers were cousins and on our father’s side, many generations were dedicated Christian laymen. We have a very strong Christian heritage.

Since a week ago it was Veteran’s Day I want to share some events.  In the early part of World War II, another cousin met with my grandpa. He was one of nine of my cousins who had enlisted in the armed forces during World War II. He was told by my grandpa that each day he prayed for all of his grandchildren, but especially for those serving in the armed forces. Our grandpa was assured that God would protect each of his grandchildren during the war and afterward, each would return. He was so certain that he told all our families we should not worry.

One was a Navy pilot and had flown 112 missions in the south pacific. On one of his return flights, his engine quit and he crashed on the shore of a small island, Upola Point, Western Samoa. He was knocked unconscious and the plane was on fire. The executive officer of the squadron saw what had happened and landed his plane on the beach. He ran over and pulled him out before the plane was consumed by fire and saved his life. The officer radioed for help. A short time later a PBY seaplane landed with a rubber raft  and he was then brought to the airplane on a rubber raft. By the time the plane arrived my cousin could hear what was happening but he could not see.

Another cousin, his ship, the U.S.S. Windham, was one day out of Australia heading to New Guinea loaded with 55 gallon barrels of gasoline. He was on watch and notified the bridge at 8:00 p.m. that another ship was on the horizon. It was time for him to be relieved from duty and he went below deck to get a cup of coffee. A short time later, he heard the ship’s whistle blasting. He went topside to see what was happening. About the time he went on deck he heard a ship ram into the starboard side of his ship. Later it was discovered that it was an American ship. One wonders how in a vast ocean two ships could collide.

Around 2 a.m., the day of the tragedy, his mother, my aunt, awoke and had a feeling she needed to pray for him. Throughout the night and into the early morning she vacuumed the entire house while continually praying that God would protect her son.

One of my uncles, who most of the family prayed for, the next day was driving one of his logging trucks also felt the need to pray for our cousin. It was months later at a family reunion that they shared these stories. It should be pointed out that our uncle was raised in a Christian home, but did not profess to be a Christian.

Another cousin had his first tour of duty in the Atlantic. One afternoon a German U-boat, off the coast of Sicily, torpedoed his ship causing it to sink. After many hours, he and many others were picked out of the water by another ship. A few hours later an enemy bomber dropped a bomb hitting the ship he had boarded. He was transferred to another ship just before the second one sank. It was quite an exciting day. He ended up in a hospital in Italy and received a purple heart. He rarely talked about his experiences and it was difficult to get much out of him.

Another cousin was a navy 3rd class petty officer and a corpsman. He was involved in the invasion of Iwo Jima. He was in a medical group that would treat the injured marines and then take them to the hospital ship. He had been on previous invasions, but on this one they were losing a number of men. If you read your history books, this was a pretty devastating battle for both sides. For two straight days and nights he and his medical group were treating the injured and then transporting the wounded back to the ship. They worked tirelessly without a break. One of the men he was treating died and the doctor asked him, “What did you do for him?” He replied, “I gave him three pints of blood.” The doctor said, “Then you killed him.” Our cousin, without thinking, hauled off and hit the officer. This cousin was a fairly good football player and this wasn’t too out of character under the circumstances. The officer demanded that he be taken on the next boat back to the ship and wait until he returned. He left on the next boat. Later, an artillery shell hit the boat that the doctor and the other corpsmen took back to the ship and there were no survivors.

He was ashamed to tell this story. As he was telling one of my cousins what had happen many years’ later, tears came to his eyes. When he was done, He was told: our grandpa said we would all be coming back. Had you not hit that Lt. you would have never made it back. It was God’s intervention that you are here today and alive.”

Another cousin was a buck-sergeant in the army. He belonged to a tank division. He was a point man directing the tanks against the enemy. Often they had a four-man group that would drive a jeep to the enemy lines. They then would go on foot, scout out the enemy and advise the tanks which direction they should go.

He saw active service in France, Luxemburg, Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. The life expectancy for these point men was very slim. Some lasted only a few days. He realized it was only God’s protection that he or any of these men came back alive.

There are many more stories that make us aware of a loving God who is ready to protect us. Many do not realize the courage that comes at a time of crisis. If you are that true believer, there will come a time when you will not fear death because you know it is God’s will and Christ will be waiting in Heaven to walk with you. I could probably share another 100 supernatural stories. Hopefully, this will help you to understand our God.

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