Diabetes Nurse, General Nursing

The Atheist Physics Professor

Diabetes Nurse Educator – Midwest, USA -1980

I exited the elevator on the cardiology unit and asked the head nurse if they had any patients with diabetes they would like me to see? She said Richard was admitted with congestive heart failure (CHF), but also was newly diagnosed with diabetes. I knocked on his door and greeted a stout 70-year-old white haired man sitting in bed who appeared weak and weary. I sat down in the chair next to him and began to teach him about his diabetes and how he could control it with diet, exercise, and oral medication prescribed by his doctor. He paid good attention and asked specific scientific questions.

“Richard, what kind of work did you do before you retired?”

“I was a physics professor at the Ohio State University for 35 years.”

“That was my Alma mater where I graduated from the School of Nursing. I never took any physics classes since I was so busy with my nursing courses. I really loved attending the Bible class on campus and meeting students from all over the world.” We concluded a few minutes later.

Before I left, I asked Richard if I could give him a pamphlet with some Bible verses that explained how he could have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He answered, “Well, Pam, I have to tell you that I’m an atheist. I don’t believe God even exists. But I will take it and read it.” He put the paper on his bedside table.

As I left, I silently prayed, Dear Lord, You know all about the poor condition of Richard’s physical heart. I pray He would read those verses and receive You as his personal Savior so He can have a new spiritual heart.” I wondered if he would throw the paper in the trash can as soon as I left. I also thought about Psalm 14:3:

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” 

Richard was discharged home the next morning, so I didn’t have an opportunity to visit him again.

A few months later, I was sitting in my office in the diabetes classroom when my phone rang. The man introduced himself and said, “Pam, do you remember me? I’m Richard, the retired physics professor who told you that I’m an atheist.” “Oh, yes! I remember you, Richard. How are you doing with your diabetes?”

“About a month after I came home, I was readmitted to the hospital because my heart failure flared up again. But while I was going for a test, my heart totally stopped. They did CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and brought me back from the dead. I was terrified to die again. I couldn’t wait to get home and read that little paper you gave me with the Bible verses. As soon as I read it, I knew I was a sinner, and I prayed and received Christ as my Savior. I am so happy now and full of peace and joy! I know the next time I die, I will go straight to heaven to be with Him. I just wanted to thank you for giving me that paper.”

I listened in dumbfounded silence, hardly able to believe my ears. Then I told Richard how thrilled I was that he now knew Jesus Christ as his own Savior. I asked him a few more questions, and it appeared that he truly understood the gospel and had done business with God. He sounded like a totally different man. I asked him if I could visit him at home to meet his wife and study the Bible further with him. He said he would love for me to visit him.

The next evening I entered his spacious lovely home and met his wife. We all sat at their kitchen table and began to read Bible verses together. We had a delightful time of fellowship as Richard asked me many questions. I asked if one of the elders from the church could come and teach him the Bible. He said that would be marvelous.

Richard grew rapidly in the Lord in his spiritual walk, but his physical heart continued to decline. About a year later, his wife called and told me through thankful tears that Richard had passed on and was now home with the Savior in heaven above. We rejoiced together that he no longer suffered physically. A few days later, my tears flowed as I read her beautiful note she mailed me. “I feel good. I know he has gone to join the Savior above and is at rest.”

I wrote in my journal that night “Richard is the first person I know of that is in heaven as a result of my testimony. What a privilege to be used of the Lord. May I labor in love more zealously and sacrificially.”

“Salvation is of the Lord.” Jonah 2:9

Reflection

What a privilege God has given us to share the good news with others. Like Paul said:

“I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So, then, neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.” I Corinthians 3:6-7

tracts
Some of my favorite gospel tracts to give to people.

I always carry gospel tracts in my purse so I’m ready to hand them out at restaurants, the airport, to store clerks, etc. The following are some good websites where you can obtain gospel tracts.

Moments with the Book: http://www.mwtb.org

Good News Publishers: http://www.crossway.org

Gospels of John in several languages can be found at the Pocket Testament League at http://www.ptl.org

I would love to hear of the opportunities God has given you to share the gospel with your patients. Please email me at pamela.aprn@gmail.com

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