"Deathbed Repentance"

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
When I was a boy of about fourteen I was listening to a preacher when he said, "Friends, I have just come from the bedside of a poor woman who was dying. I spoke to her about her soul and she listened with great attention. When I pointed out to her the danger of meeting her God, unforgiven, she cried for mercy, and a few minutes afterward she died. I believe she has gone to heaven."
I may not have given the exact words, but the impression they left on my mind was that a man might live as he liked and that on his deathbed he could cry for mercy, be forgiven, and go to heaven.
I said to myself, "That is exactly what I will do, and I will enjoy life in my own way."
So I deliberately formed this resolution and lived accordingly. I joined in all the pleasures going on around me and tried to keep God out of my thoughts. If anyone talked about the possibility of going to hell, I would think, "No, not me. I am going to cry for mercy on my deathbed!"
Years passed. I joined the army and lived a careless, godless life, trying to forget the eternity which lay before me. Sometimes I would think, "What will be the end of the life I am leading?" But I always had the answer ready, "On my deathbed I am going to cry for mercy."
One day while I was out hunting I got wet through and thoroughly chilled and was soon acutely ill. I was on very good terms with Gordon, one of our medical officers, and when he came to my bedside I said to him, "What do you really think of me, Gordon? Do you think I am going to die? Tell me honestly."
Slowly and sadly he replied, "To tell you the honest truth, I think unless you take a decided turn for the better within an hour, you will probably be dead in two or three hours."
"Thank you," I answered; "then will you leave me by myself and come back at the end of the hour?"
Gordon left me alone. "And now," I thought, "the time has come for me to cry for mercy."
I looked at the clock and noticed the exact time. After lying quiet for a few minutes to collect my thoughts, I looked again at the clock and found that a quarter of an hour had slipped away. I was startled but, repeating to myself, "Now I must cry for mercy," I lay back on my bed.
My thoughts flew to my family at home and I wondered how those I loved would hear of my death, and what they would think and say, and again I looked at the clock.
Only twenty minutes left! In deep distress I tried to think of the words in which I should cry for mercy, but could not think of any words whatever. I realized to my horror that I was so weak from my illness that, do what I would, I could not collect my thoughts sufficiently to cry for mercy.
Once more I looked at the clock. Two or three minutes only of the hour were left to me, and I feared that I would probably soon become unconscious. This roused me to a desperate effort and, raising myself on my knees, I tried as a last resource to say a prayer I had memorized as a boy.
"Our Father which art—," I began, but that was all I could remember. I was too sick to think of what came next and fell down upon my bed in anguish, fully realizing that on my deathbed it was too late to cry for mercy.
God spared my life, and some time later I heard the gospel of free and full salvation. The preacher pointed out that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," and that if any man came as a sinner to Christ, believing in Him and trusting in Him, that very moment Christ would receive him and would give him eternal life.
"Now," he cried, "is the accepted time!"
It flashed through my mind: "How foolish to delay!" Then and there I came to Christ, and ever since I have been blessed with the knowledge of my perfect safety for time and eternity.
You, too, may accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior today and share that wonderful peace of mind. "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 3:1616For 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).