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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Does God Accept Fire Insurance?

I first heard the term fire insurance at a Christmas party several years ago. The comment made was something like, "I'm glad he was saved right before he died..even if it was fire insurance." It took me a couple of minutes to figure out exactly what they were talking about....Fire....Hell....Fire insurance - going to Heaven with flames flicking at your back side. That's how my mind saw it at least.
It got me to thinking... Does God really care if you accept him into your heart just so you won't get burned? Will there be any jewels in your crown? Will you even get a crown? Is there a certain expiration date on accepting Christ as your Savior right before you die? I think the only answer that makes sense to me is God sees our hearts. If we truly ask for forgiveness and truly accept him, He will always open the door. He loves us so much that I can actually see God cry a happy tear and say welcome home, son.. or in my case daughter...
The reason I bring this up is that my dad died last summer.
My dad was diagnosed with tongue cancer about 8 years ago. His complete tongue had to be removed in 2004. After the surgery he had a heart attack and a stroke. We didn't think he would make it. By the Grace of God and my dad's Irish stubborn nature - he made it through all of it very well and was able to lead a pretty normal life...not counting the feeding tube and breathing tube in his neck.
One morning last summer my dad suddenly felt like he couldn't breathe. I was on vacation and my mom had gone to her sisters for a few days. So my sister, Debbie rushed my dad to the hospital. There he was put on a ventilator. The first few days, everyone was optimistic that dad would be taken off the ventilator and be able to come home. That was before he started having mini heart attacks and mini strokes... It became obvious that he would never be able to come off the ventilator and he would never be able to come home.
I was on a road trip over a thousand miles away when all this was happening. I had several phone checkups each day with my mom and sister. When I finally made it to the hospital, I could tell my dad was dying. He could no longer see and he wouldn't close his eyes. It's so hard to see your daddy like that. He's always been the "Master of the home" the "Tough Guy". When I walked into the ICU room my dad heard my voice and put out his hand for me to hold. I told him, I was sorry it took so long to get there. "It's okay," he said..."You're here now."
My sister Debbie had been praying with my dad during this time. She wasn't sure if Dad had made peace with God or if my dad actually had accepted God. We just didn't know. Seeing our dad slip away put a sense of urgency in Debbie that she had to do everything in her power to make sure dad went to his Father knowing that mom was going to be alright, that we loved him, and that we forgave him for the past and asked him to forgive us also.
The day before and the day of my dad's death he kept lifting up his hands. He would have this peaceful smile on his face. Mom asked him why he was smiling and if he was happy. My dad couldn't talk so she asked him many questions until she got the answer. He said that he saw his mom and dad who went to Heaven before him and right before he died he lifted both hands and told my sister he was reaching for Jesus' hand.
Did my dad get fire insurance those last days? I don't know... Do I think he is in Heaven? I do. I think my dad found the peace he had been looking for. I also know that my daughter, Krystal who went before him is holding his hand and listening to all his stories that she never got to hear.

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