By Mark Ellis
Sometimes, a good man seems like the most difficult person to save. In Mike Proctor’s family, his wife and children were never quite sure where he stood with the Lord, but God gave them a gift at the end of Mike’s life.
“Up until two weeks ago, I was never sure if he had accepted the Lord,” says son Andy. “I knew he heard the message, but he always kept quiet about those things,” Andy notes. “He was always very private.”
Mike faced many health battles during his 72 years of life, beginning with juvenile diabetes. Due to complications of that disease, doctors amputated the lower part of his right leg in 2001. Several years later he lost the toes on his left foot. Altogether, Mike had 22 surgeries during his lifetime, including spinal surgery.
“Through it all he had the most upbeat attitude,” Andy recalls.
Someone once asked Mike about his height. “I was six feet tall, then I lost a foot and a half,” he joked.
After the rest of Mike’s right leg was amputated recently, his health deteriorated. “He was on dialysis and had a feeding tube. His body was shutting down at the end,” Andy says, with sadness.
On January 29th, Andy went to visit his father in the hospital. He knew it might be one of his last opportunities to talk to his father about eternity. Mike was completely unresponsive on the day Andy visited, but Andy sensed that somehow his father could hear him.
“Dad, I don’t want anything to happen to you, but if something does happen to you, I want to know I will get to see you again in heaven,” he began. He spoke to his father as if he could hear every word.
With great care, Andy presented the gospel message to his father. But there was no verbal affirmation, no squeeze of the hand, no wink of the eye to let Andy know he even heard him.
A few days later – Super Bowl Sunday – Andy returned to the hospital. This time, Andy was surprised to discover his father could talk a little bit. “Do you remember what we talked about a few days ago?” he inquired, gingerly.
“Yes,” Mike replied.
“So, if something happened do you think you will be going to heaven?” Andy asked.
Mike pointed both of his hands up toward the sky.
“So you’re going to heaven?”
“Absolutely,” Mike said with assurance.
“Have you accepted Jesus?”
“Yes…yes!” Mike said.
His father’s firm affirmation of faith made the next few days bearable for Andy, because his father’s health continued to erode precipitously. “After we knew his heart — and had the assurance that he was saved, it was hard, but now I could let go.”
A few days after Mike told his son he was saved, a difficult decision was made – to remove him from life support.”
Doctors gave Mike the opportunity to make the decision for himself when he had a moment of clarity. “I don’t want to do it anymore,” he told the doctors.
Andy says it was an “amazing day” when doctors removed his father’s life support. “We were standing around his bed. He was looking around at us, but then he began to look past us,” Andy recalls.
“Are you seeing something, Mike?” his wife Lydia asked.
Mike nodded. A serene smile suddenly lit up his countenance.
“Are you seeing angels?”
“Ten million of them!” he exulted.
Andy snapped a last photograph of his father at that moment. “He was seeing heaven and it was awesome,” Andy says.
After life support was removed, including food and water, Mike lingered another 10 days, but he could no longer communicate.
Still, God gave the Proctor family a priceless gift – the assurance of Mike’s eternal destination. “The Lord was so faithful!” Andy says, his heart full of gratitude to God.
Do you want to know God personally? Here are four steps…