Joe, a young, very fit looking guy came into to see Dr. Holdiman. He was certain something was wrong. Very wrong. He didn't really have any symptoms that he could put his finger on but he had this sense of uneasiness.
Dr. Holdiman assessed him, questioned him, but nothing seemed wrong. Joe went home.
He returned in a week, unable to shake the sense of dread he felt. He must have something wrong. He asked Dr. H to check him out again. All results came back negative - nothing was wrong.
On a spring night, Joe ended up in the ER. Not a great way to spend your Saturday night, but he was still overwhelmed that something dire must be going on. He felt so bad he believed he must have cancer or some life-threatening disease. He was right, but the ER doc on the floor that night didn't see anything wrong. He told him if he didn't feel better to come back the next day and Dr. Holdiman would be there to see him.
He did return on Sunday, which happened to be Mother's Day, with a very unhappy wife in tow. This was her day and he was ruining it with this rabid hypochondria. How many times did someone need to be told they were fine before they believed it?!
After yet another round of tests, questions, and observations, Dr. Holdiman came back - again with negative test results, but with an idea of the problem. He was certain Joe was dying, and it was very serious.
He asked Joe a question, "Are you worried about dying?"
"Yes!" That had been the crux of the problem all along.Dr. H must see that I am dying. Finally someone understands!
Then Dr. H asked a question Joe didn't expect, "Where do you think you'll go when you die?"
Joe said he figured he’d go to heaven. But he wasn’t really sure.
"Why do you think you’d get into heaven?" Dr. H queried.
"Well, I figure I've lived a pretty good life. I haven’t done anything real bad."
Dr. H had often heard this philosophy. People believe God simply grades on a curve. If the good outweighs the bad, then you're in. Or is it that if you're just better than most of the others you're in?
Dr. H explained that we all fall short of the glory of God. Not one of us is good enough. He explained that just one sin is enough to keep us out of heaven. That God can’t be in the presence of any sin.
And Dr. Holdiman shared the gospel.
He started with why we were created (Isaiah 43:5-7)
Talked about what sin is (Romans 1:28-32)
God's wrath against us (Ephesians 2:1-3)
Why people love the dark (John 3:19)
How we can't change on our own because we're blind (2 Corinthians 4:4)
He summed it up that it's a hopeless situation. We can't fix it. We are dead and going to hell.
BUT because of GOD...
There is hope through Jesus (Ephesians 1:3-6)
We exist for His glory (Romans 11:36)
A great exchange has taken place (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Our sins are paid for by Christ Jesus (Romans 4:25)
Jesus got our sins and we got His righteousness
Dr. H could hardly get the words out fast enough. He saw Joe's eyes widen and he was nodding furiously. This was the answer! Joe was dying but the good news was that there was a cure and his name was Jesus Christ!
Dr. H asked Joe if he wanted to accept Jesus and start a new life with Him. Joe definitely did, but he didn't want to without his wife. Joe asked Dr. H if he'd go get his wife and tell her the Good News too.
As Dr. H reached the waiting room he was greeted with Joe's brooding wife. He felt her anger and bitterness as he approached.
Expecting to hear the same nothing-to-report diagnosis, her arms were folded across her chest in knowing disgust. They loosened only slightly when Dr. H asked her to join them in the room.
Tentatively, Dr. H explained that he'd like to share with her what he'd been explaining to her husband. As he repeated God's great plan, her demeanor softened. She started to lean in. To nod her head. Tears came as they both accepted Christ.
Death was defeated that day, not by a medical procedure or pill, but by the outpouring of God's grace.
Who is dying around you? At your office? In your neighborhood?
What if Dr. H hadn't been willing to go beyond what his job required of him? What if he was too scared of bringing up Jesus? The fact that Dr. Holdiman was a doctor wasn't what saved Joe's life that day. As a Christian, he shared the saving words that God gave. He simply shared the truth.
Will you do the same for the dying in your life? When you see dead people, say something.
Dr. Holdiman has practiced internal medicine for more than 30 years. He is currently the medical director at Hospice of Siouxland.