david j. pedde

A Death Bed Confession

My younger brother Darrell died of stage 4 liver cancer on June 18th, 2015 at the age of 51 years, 10 months, and 29 days. Less than three months earlier, my nephew Ryan led him to the Lord, his dad’s new birth in Christ being celebrated by family members in attendance at his water baptism on May 24th.

 

I am told that one of Darrell’s long time buddies, upon hearing of his recent surrender to Christ, said, “Oh sure. Everyone gets saved when they are on their death bed!”

 

I have often wondered about that as well, thinking “It seems like somewhat of a wasted life - the person could have been in the ministry, or lived less selfishly, or done more eternal good, or…” But the more I think about it, here’s what I am coming to believe: 

A death bed confession has far more to do with the condition of one’s heart than the condition of one’s health.

   

Consider the two thieves straddling Christ’s position on separate crosses at Golgotha. Those familiar with this story are aware that one thief cursed and mocked Jesus the Christ, while the other humbled himself, recognizing the Saviour, and petitioned Him for remembrance in His heavenly (not earthly) kingdom.

   

Same crime, same retribution. Entirely different heart posture and eternal outcome. 

   

There are some people that seem to have a “faith pilot light” burning in them. Northern climate dwellers know that a forced air furnace has a small natural gas flame burning at all times. During the colder months of winter, every time the thermostat dictates a change in room temperature it sends an electronic signal to the furnace ordering it to increase the gas flow then start the blower motor. This sends hot air through the heating ducts into the house. Given the right conditions the certain, though unnoticed, evidence of this tiny flame is experienced by everyone who escapes the winter cold in the warmth of the house.   

    

Thief number one died a violent, heartless, death never knowing the warmth of the Father’s love. The other thief, finding himself in the identical circumstance, experienced the overwhelming joy of this promise, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

   

Anyone self-righteously passing judgment on Christ’s seemingly gratuitous decision simply does not recognize nor understand the heart of the Father. He is the prodigal Father who stands at the end of the driveway longing for the return of His beloved son. He is the Ninety nine and One Shepherd who leaves the majority (even to their own peril) and seeks and saves that one who, by their own willfulness and ignorance, is lost. The prodigal son did not have to return home but he remembered the security of the family and crawled home to receive grace. The found lamb could have stealthily resisted the Shepherd’s gaze but knew the His voice, gratefully accepting rescue, return and reunion. 

   

As I contemplate Darrell’s life and death today, I am so so thankful that we have a gracious Father Whose inexhaustible love supersedes the timing of our confession.

   

Welcome home. Enter into your reward Darrell.

Keep in touch.

dave.pedde@sanctusschool.com

Comments

Hi Dave, this is just beautiful and so well written from the heart. I just found out from your Dad about your brother Darrell. My condolences to you and your family. Hope you're all doing well. God Bless.

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