A Very
Short Story
. . . with Long Lasting Implications

Aaron Lacker was dying.   The disease that had reared its menacing head nine
    months ago was now in its final stage, confining him to a hospital bed.   For years
    doctors had begged him to stop smoking.   But he ignored them and kept filling his
lungs with the very smoke that would be the end of him.   When his only daughter, Laura,
arrived to visit, she found him wrestling with the remote control . . .
   "Stupid, lame-brain networks!   Can't find anything decent."
   "Dad, the doctor said not to get excited."
   "Ah!"   Aaron turned off the set and placed the remote on the night stand.   "I'm almost
glad I'm leaving this world."
   "Don't say that.   And stop fussing!   You're going to yank that tube out of your nose."
   "Maybe that's what I should do: pull it right out."
   Laura shook her head, lamenting that his bull-headed attitude had gotten him sick in the
first place.
   "Here," she said, handing him a bag.   "I bought you the magazine you wanted."
   "Good!   There's nothing on the tube anyway."
   Laura looked at the other bed where an elderly man quietly laid with his back toward
them.   "How is he doing?" Laura asked.
   "Huh?"   Aaron looked up from the magazine cover.   "You mean Mr. Walters?"   He frowned.
"He's out of it.   Just lays there.   Got like that shortly after your last visit."
   "Did he read the little pamphlet I left him?"
   "Huh?   Oh, no, I told him to pay no mind to it."
   "You what?   WHY?"
   "Look, Honey, people have their own beliefs.   They deal with things in their own way."
Aaron coughed.   "Frankly, I was embarrassed at what you did.   It was out of line."
   "Out of line?   I just gave him some Bible verses so he could learn how to. . ."
   Aaron coughed again.   "Hand me some of those tissue things."   He pressed a handful to
his mouth and continued to cough until his face turned red.   "Those verses are your
interpretation," he added, straining between coughs.
   "But they're not!" Laura said.   "The Bible clearly warns that, ‘There is a way which
seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death’
(Prov. 14:12).   And
that. . ."
   "Look!" he said, his voice trying to recover.   "I'm getting tired of you spewing out a Bible
verse for every answer you give me.   Don't you think for yourself anymore?"
   Laura began to respond, but a doctor walked into the room and proceeded directly to
Mr. Walters' beside.   He reached for the dividing curtain and before drawing it, paused,
smiled at Laura, and greeted her with a nod.   Laura watched as he disappeared behind the
curtain.   His presence, though unseen, made Laura self-conscious, forcing her to lower her
   "I'm only trying to show you, and him, that a person can know for sure they're going to
Heaven when they die.   Dad, you can have complete assurance of Heaven if you repent and
trust in the fact that, ‘Christ died for our sins’ (1 Cor. 15:3).   Stop trusting in your self-
righteousness to get you there."
   Aaron shook his head in disgust and opened the nightstand drawer.   He pulled out the
stack of pamphlets she had previously given him throughout her visits.

   "These," he said, holding the stack above his head, "are some of the most offensive things
I've ever read!"   He thumbed through them, singling out one in particular.
"This one talks about Hell!   Of all things to give a dying man!"
   "But that's why you need to hear . . ."
   "Hush!" he said.   "I'm not finished.   As I read through it, I was even more offended by the
suggestion that I deserve to go there myself . . ."
   Aaron suddenly broke into another round of coughs.   Unable to get a word out, he
pointed to the tissues and hastily snapped his fingers.   She quickly grabbed the box and
handed it to him.   As she watched him try to subdue his unmalleable coughing, she started
weeping.   Red faced again, he finally brought himself under control.
   "Stop that crying . . . it's not helping any," he said, trying to catch his breath.
   She grabbed a tissue and began to wipe her eyes.   "You don't understand, Dad.   You don't
see yourself the way God does.   You're a rebellious sinner in His eyes and Jesus said that His
angels will gather up, ‘them which do iniquity [sin]; And shall cast them into a furnace of
(Mat. 13:41-42)."
   Aaron had had enough.   He laid back, closed his eyes and waved off the conversation.
"Honey, I'm tired.   Maybe you should go.   Come back and visit me tomorrow."
   "But . . . !"
   "Please, I don't wanna talk anymore.   Take the pamphlets with you.   I've read them all
   Laura began to cry again as she left the room.
   With his eyes still closed, Aaron listened to the fading sound of her footsteps.   For a few
quiet moments he laid there, drifting, wondering where he went wrong raising his daughter.
Suddenly the harmonious flow of thoughts was disrupted by the sound of a curtain being
drawn . . .
   "Excuse me, I hope I'm disturbing something profound."
Aaron opened his eyes and found Mr. Walters' doctor leaning over him.   Aaron had forgotten
that he was behind the curtain all along.
   "I'm Doctor Lucif," the doctor said, accentuating his smile with intense piercing eyes.
"Doctor Dev Lucif.   I couldn't help overhearing your conversation with your daughter."
   "How did you know she's my daughter?"
   "Why, Mr. Lacker, that should be obvious."   The doctor grinned.   "She referred to you as:
Dad . . . remember?"

   Still grinning, the doctor took the liberty of sitting in what had been Laura's chair.   He
leaned back and crossed his legs.
   "So tell me Aaron, how are you feeling?   I notice you have a nasty cough."
   "How'd you know my first name?   My daughter never. . . ."
   "Come, come now, Aaron.   This is a hospital.   I am a doctor."   Dev suddenly leaned forward,
intensely locking eyes with Aaron.   "As a doctor, I'm concerned with your status, both
physical and otherwise."

   "What do you mean otherwise?"
   "Emotionally . . . of course.   A person in your condition should not be exposed to
stressful situations.   Take this matter of religious beliefs, for example.

If I were your doctor I'd immediately recommend that you no longer be exposed to, how
shall we say, any literature that challenges your well-established beliefs."

   "Huh?"   Aaron paused for a moment.   "OH!   You mean my daughter and her pamphlets?"
   Dev flinched his eyebrows once and slowly nodded his head up and down.
   "Don't mind her," Aaron said.   "She's harmless."
   "AH!   But I know full well the possible ramifications of her actions.   They can lead to
doubt, which in turn can result in a change that, at this crucial point in your life, can be
detrimental, not to mention . . . disappointing."

   "Are you a psychologist?" Aaron said.
   Dev laughed.   "Actually, I know human nature quite well.   Let's take your nature, for
example.   You're a very up and up person, a decent man; you pay your bills, give to charity,
attend church now and then."

   "Yeah, I give God His due respect every Christmas and Easter," Aaron added.
   "Exactly.   Two days out of the year from your busy schedule is reasonable reverence to an
almighty God, isn't it?"
  Dev laughed again.
   "I think it's good."
   "Exactly.   And to insinuate that you deserve to go to a devil's Hell is absurd.   I mean it's
not as if you're a rebellious creature, habitually ignoring God and His Word."

   "Well, I'm not as bad as some."
   "Right!   And with your obvious sacrificial obedience to Him, He'd surely want you there
with Him in Heaven.   You'd feel right at home worshiping Him for eternity.   In fact, death for
you would merely be a step into another room, a continuation of the profoundly close
relationship you have with Him now."
  Dev's eyes grew wide open as he grinned.
   Aaron stared at the grin, then looked up at the eyes and began coughing again.
   Dev instantly pulled a red handkerchief out of his lab-coat pocket.   "Allow me."
   Aaron grabbed it and held it against his mouth, muffling the sounds that seemed to come
from deep within his lungs.
   Dev smiled and said, "Yes . . . Yes . . . quite a nasty cough, indeed."   Suddenly, Dev looked
up, drawing in his eyebrows as if having heard something far away.   "I'm sorry, I must be on
my way."

   Aaron waved with his free hand, trying to say goodbye between coughs.
   "Oh, but the pleasure's been mine," Dev said.   "Hope to see you again . . . soon."
   Aaron stopped coughing just as Dev reached the door.   "Wait! . . . How's Mr. Walters?   Is he
going to make it?"
   Dev Lucif looked at the motionless body.   It was still breathing.   "We had a nice chat."
   "You mean, he can hear you?" Aaron said, looking at Walters and then back at Dev.
   "Oh, you'd be surprised how many people can hear me."   Dev burned his piercing eyes into
Aaron.   "Even more surprising is how many fools . . . listen."

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth
to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and
narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

                                                                                         (Jesus Christ, Mat. 7:13-14)

IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven?
  The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).

BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps
you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God,"
Isa. 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;"
Rom. 3:23.
And Jesus, referring to sinners, said that He:
"shall send forth his angels, and they shall
gather out of his kingdom all things that offend,
and them which do iniquity
And shall cast them into
a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing
and gnashing of teeth."
  Mat. 13:41-42

SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "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."
  Eph. 2:8-9   Baptism, good deeds,
church membership, self-righteousness are all
examples of good works that cannot save you,
because: "Not by works of
which we have done, but
according to his mercy he
[Christ] saved
Titus 3:5.

THE ONLY WAY you can get saved
is through Jesus Christ.   He said: "I am the
, the truth, and the life: no man
unto the Father, but by me."

(John 14:6)   THAT'S WHY: "...while we were
yet sinners, Christ died for us."

(Rom. 5:8-9)   THEREFORE: You must REPENT
(change your mind); admit that you are a Hell
deserving sinner and can't save yourself.   And
call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you.
"if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord
[REPENT], and shalt believe in thine
[TRUST] that God hath raised him
from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
  Rom. 10:9

P.O. Box 815
Fargo, ND 58107

[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]