n December 31, 2010, I drove my husband to Shands Emergency in Jacksonville, Florida, where they had to
stop and restart his heart twice to get it back in rhythm. I was allowed to stay with him overnight in the Coronary Care Unit.
At about 5:00 New Year’s morning, my cell phone rang. It was my daughter, Missy. She cried,
“Mama, Rescue is taking Aaron to Shands. . . . He shot himself!”
“I’ll meet you there in the ER,” I said.
“Pray, Mama, pray!”
“I will, baby; I will.”
The next few hours were heart-wrenching and nerve-racking. The doctors talked all around what to expect, saying they were doing all they could. Then I asked point-blank, “Is he going to die?” I felt we, as his family—Missy, his mother; me, his grandmother—had a right to know.
The doctors said, “He is on an extremely thin thread, and we are doing all we can.”
The doctors said we could go in and see him. I waited so Missy and his dad could go in first, but an overpowering urge surged through my being. In my spirit, I already knew that Aaron would die, and I wanted to make sure that he accepted the Lord as his Savior.
When my sister, Rachel, was finally permitted to come into the trauma waiting room, I asked her to go in with me to see Aaron. She stood on one side of him just praying with her whole heart, while I was on the other side of him. I bent down and spoke in his ear.
All of his life, Aaron had loved going to church with me. As a kid, he dearly loved the Bible stories, always asking to hear more and more. I taught him how the Scriptures applied to our lives. I taught him that God loved us so much that He gave us His Son so we could go to heaven and be saved from hell.
Aaron was no longer a little boy but a young man accountable for his own sins . . . and he was not saved.
Aaron was 20 years old and had been living with his girlfriend. They had a sweet baby girl, born three days before Christmas. Aaron had been in legal trouble, was on probation, and had broken his probation by being out too late one night. On New Year’s Eve he started drinking, and somehow things went dreadfully wrong.
Some say it was suicide; others, an accident. There was no suicide note left behind, and there were no previous signs of depression, no threats, and no behavioral changes. He loved life and his baby. But now, this unmarried father of a 10-day-old daughter lay dying, with his soul in the balance.
Jude 22 says,
“Of some have compassion, making a difference.”
My urgent compassion for the state of Aaron’s soul, driven by the Holy Spirit, could make a difference in his eternal destiny.
Verse 23 states,
“And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”
Aaron knew better than to live in adultery, break the law, neglect his spiritual life, and harm himself. His garments were stained with sin; he had to be pulled from the fire of eternal hell.
God still loved Aaron, stained as he was. Jesus could wash away the sin stains with His blood, shed on Calvary’s cross.
With Rachel on one side of the Emergency Room gurney praying with all her heart, I whispered, “Aaron, this is Nanny, and I know you can hear me. Aaron, you are in very critical condition; they say you are going to die. Son, you just cannot leave this world without God. You have got to get saved; you must ask Jesus to forgive you of all your sins.
“Aaron, I know you cannot speak with your mouth, but you can speak with your mind and heart. Let God know you want to be saved. Ask Jesus to come into your heart. Jesus will save you; He loves you very much.”
I saw his shoulder rise and fall. Then the second time, rise and fall. When his shoulder fell the second time, it was as if a load had lifted from his soul, as if in total surrender. I knew he had accepted Jesus as his Savior.
Aaron was transferred from the ER to a trauma unit, where he died at 8:40 p.m. To deal with a tragedy like this is more than heartbreaking, but somehow God had given us peace. Peace not as the world gives, but His peace. We had peace knowing that Aaron had accepted the Lord and was now in heaven. We had prayed for Aaron’s salvation so many times through the years, and God kept Aaron alive long enough for me to reach into the fire and pull him out.