What If There Is No Second Chance
I spoke with my brother Will via a long distance line this morning. He was quite emotional about his situation. But he was not emotional in the negative sense of the word though. I sensed a great joy in him as he related his most recent experience. He was just home from the hospital where he had an open heart bypass surgery. He said he is grateful to God for giving him a second lease for his life. While listening to him, I also felt a great joy inside me. I clenched my jaw as I tried to hold back my own tears of joy upon realizing that my own brother just received Jesus in his life. Here’s the reason why I had that special feelings about what happened to him.
For more than a decade I have been telling Will about his need of Christ. He would always agree with me but says he’ll get into it later. In the beginning he was willing to listen. Later on, he became hostile and argue that God does not exist. He started to believe on worldly philosophies instead. Societies like the Brotherhood of Freemasons even appealed to him. From then, I had minimal contact with him. Privately however, I would often mention him in my prayers. I set my heart to always pray that God will deal with his heart one day. That was five years ago.
At the end of last month, I received an email from Will‘s son. The email has a Youtube video attached to it. The video contains an angiogram of his heart. The angiogram result showed that there is no blood supply to the right side of the heart. The email went on to say that Will drove to a hospital after a severe chest pain. He learned later that he was having a heart attack. I called him at the hospital. He was nervous. He said he had a near death experience. He lost consciousness once he arrived at the hospital. He said his vision turned all white and that was the last he could remember. He did not know that there was a code called for him. He did not feel the hospital performing a CPR on him. He woke up at the ICU. I asked him what is the plan. He said only an open heart bypass can save him. Also, it has to be done soon, or else. But he said he cannot afford the cost of the surgery. In the country where he lives, health care is very bad. In fact, there is no health system at all. He was nicely told the cost of the surgery. In other words, no money no surgery. He was sent home after five days. He was told to call back and schedule the surgery, if he has the money.
I didn’t know what to say. The amount he mentioned shocked me. but I was reminded that I have been praying for him all these years. This must be it. I felt God will do something big in my brother’s life. When I hang up the phone, I knelt and prayed for God to provide. I included Will in my church’s prayer list. I prayed about it twice daily. I set my cell phone to vibrate at certain times twice a day to remind me to pray for him. Meantime, Will was having mini heart attacks daily since he left the hospital. The intermittent chest pain rattled him and his family so much. Somehow, I was rattled too. I found myself praying more often asking God to save my brother. Then God answered.
Two weeks after, God provided from two sources ten thousand dollars, enough to cover the amount Will said he needs. Will was glad to know about it when I called to tell him the good news. He did not waste time to make an appointment for a surgery. I sent the money and spoke to him again a few hours before he was to be brought to the operating room. During our conversation, He was very jovial and did not seem concerned about anything at all. I felt weird about that. He did not seem to be reflecting on his situation toward God at all. His nonchalant attitude made me feel God is not moving for his salvation. Anyway, I asked him that he pray with me for his successful surgery. He just went quiet as I prayed. He did not even say “Amen” with me after my prayer. Then I hang up the phone after saying bye. Little did I know that God would move on him right after he hang up the phone.
There was another patient in the room with Will. The other patient had a cardiac arrest and died. Will saw it all. He saw the other patient struggle to breath as he turned bluish after his heart stopped beating. He saw death swallow someone who had the same physical problem like his. Then there was loud wailing by the patient’s family. That made will panicked and sacred. Then he decided to call out to God. He started to pray. He cried to God for another life. He heard himself praying for the other patient too. And he felt something different this time. As if God is so close. He never felt that before. He took the opportunity to ask for forgiveness and he heard himself say, “I will follow you from now on.”. A decade of prayers finally got an answer.
During my morning devotional the following day, I came across this parable of Jesus that tells me what happened to Will.
Then Jesus told this parable: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’” (Luke 13:6-9)
I figured, Will is the fig, God owns the garden, Jesus is the gardener. Jesus just intervened for Will’s life. God just gave him another chance. Somehow I thought, what if Will or people like Will did not have a chance to ask for another chance? The answer must be scary.