Midwest, USA – 1978
The phone rang and I answered. My dear friend Enid who lived an hour away said, “Pam, One of my former coworkers, Jack, is a patient at your hospital. Would you visit him and share the gospel with him? For many years he chauffeured one of the wealthiest men in the city before he retired. Jack seldom has any visitors.”
“Sure! I would love to visit him.”
The next day after I finished work, I knocked on Jack’s hospital room door and entered. A thin elderly man stared at me with his big sad brown eyes. I sat in the chair beside his bed and told him a little about myself. He told me he smoked all his life and now had decreased circulation in both his legs causing him severe pain. He had been hospitalized several times the past year for his surgeon to implant synthetic arteries to bypass the clogged ones to try to get more blood to his feet. Sadly, the implants did not relieve his pain.
I shared with Jack how Christ loved him that He had died on the cross for his sins, rose again, and lived today. Jesus Christ wanted Jack to receive Him as his personal Savior. I asked Jack if I could read some Bible verses to him, and he readily agreed.
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 (KJV)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, That whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God– not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)
I then prayed for Jack. As I said goodbye, he gripped my hand and asked me to please visit him again because he wanted to hear more from the Bible.
I continued to visit Jack after work every day and often after he went home. One afternoon, after we finished studying the Bible at his kitchen table, I asked him if he would like to receive Jesus Christ as his personal Savior? He said he was ready. He bowed his head and prayed out loud, “Dear Lord, I come to you now as a sinner. Thank You for dying on the cross for me to pay the price for my sins. Thank You that You are the Son of God. I now receive You as my very own Savior. Amen.” He looked up and smiled. His big brown eyes now beamed with joy!
Jack’s difficult road continued with more surgeries and more pain over the next months. Because the grafts were not successful, they amputated his left leg below the knee. His right leg continued to be very painful and his surgeon said he needed to have it amputated also.
The day before his second amputation after we read the Bible together, Jack said, “Pam, I read this morning how Jesus Christ said to the Father before He went to the cross, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39. That is what I told God today also. “Thy will be done!” I saw his steely determination in his tear-filled eyes.
Several months after Jack’s second leg amputation, I visited him in his apartment a few days before Christmas. He said, “I have a surprise for you!” He wheeled himself into his bedroom. After about 15 minutes he WALKED out of his bedroom on his two new prosthetic legs while leaning on his walker. He grinned from ear to ear as my tears of joy flowed.
The Lord took Jack home to heaven several years later. I marveled as I watched the Lord transform him from an angry bitter man into one full of joy and peace. The memory of his sweet testimony of submitting his life to God while going through difficult trials with his health continues to bless me today.
I worked with a number of patients who needed amputations over the years. Those who did best in handling the trauma trusted in the Lord for the grace and strength to adjust to this major change in their life. Others who did not trust in God usually became bitter and said, “Why me?” Only Christ can transform us.
Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (KJV) II Corinthians 5:17