Death up close and personal: What salvation means to me now

Death up close and personal: What salvation means to me now By Hedieh Mirahmadi for Christian Post

Before I came to saving faith in Christ, I depended on my father so intensely that I would cry just at the thought of him leaving this world.  He was my anchor through the storms of life, always able to put me back on solid ground. My father was a devout Muslim, and though my conversion was initially hard to accept, his love for me as his daughter never changed. He was still my biggest supporter, whether it was giving business advice for managing the ministry or watching my testimony on the 700 Club.

As my relationship with the Lord grew in strength and I was blessed to start a blended family with my new husband, I began to experience what God commanded for a couple to leave their parent’s home and “become one flesh.”  I knew the Lord was calling me to “leave my parent’s house” so I could grow in faith, but I never expected that my father would soon become gravely ill. In less than a year, a virulent strain of cancer metastasized across my father’s body, and he left this earth last month.

While at the hospital, I passionately pleaded with my father to accept the free gift of salvation. He would always listen attentively and smile. After several of these conversations, I had peace that I delivered the good news of the Gospel, and it was now between him and the Lord. Once the doctors determined the cancer was not treatable, we brought my father home to enjoy his remaining time surrounded by family. In just three days, with all the family present, my father passed. It happened so fast, and so dramatically none of us could emotionally prepare for what would happen next.

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At his bedside, I saw the last breath leave his body, and almost instantly, I lost emotional connectivity to his flesh. I kissed his forehead and left the room. However, I was well aware that this time of passing of a soul until the body is buried can be pretty emotional for all my Muslim relatives. In Islam, there is no guarantee of eternal life or Heaven. The minute a person dies, they prepare for the judgment of God. A portion of the soul remains in the deceased, so great care is taken with the body. A ritual washing is performed within 24 hours, the body is wrapped in a white cloth with the face covered and then placed in the grave without a coffin. That evening it is believed, two very menacing angels appear to the deceased and question him about his faith and deeds, both good and bad. All this is accepted by faith and can be quite traumatic for the family of the loved one. The next couple of days are spent praying for the deceased in hopes he would receive mercy, yet there is a lingering fear about what will happen in the afterlife.   I could see the agony on their faces and the pain they were experiencing from that uncertainty. As the grief and fear swirled around the room, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the surety of saving faith in Christ. The gift of salvation was suddenly so real to me.  To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I knew I would not need anyone to pray over my body because my trust in Jesus guaranteed me eternal life.

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