Friday, February 17, 2012

A Son's Last Words to His Father

 A couple of days ago, I met an interesting man by the name of Tom Curtis who shared the following story with me.  In retelling the story, I hope I accurately captured the facts as related by Tom.  Tom shared this story after we told him we were doing a Bible Study put together by former PGA Golfer Wally Armstrong.  In telling the story, Tom told us how he met a gentleman by the name of Wally.

A man named Wally said to Tom, you need to know personally know Jesus.  Initially, Tom was inclined to throw him out of the office.  Over the years, Tom had many ups and downs.  Up to this point, mostly downs.  Because about nine years before Wally approached Tom, tragedy had struck his family.  The meeting with Wally would lead to the end of one journey and the beginning of a new journey.

Tom and his wife had a son by the name of Nick.  Although young, Tom was a successful businessman.  On one particular afternoon, Tom was out on a yacht.  Nick was at home playing a game of tag with some friends.  Nick tried to avoid a tag and ran into some barrels that were near the house.  Earlier some men, who were working on the yard, left a gas container on top of the barrels.  The container fell and Nick was soaked.  At this point, one would wonder what runs through the head of a twelve year old boy.  Because a young boy will come up with things that at the time seem funny, but in reality could be dangerous, or even fatal.  As Nick stood there soaked in gasoline, one of his friends decided to pick up a match and throw it in Nick’s direction.  This resulted in an explosion.  Nick was on fire.

This occurred nearly 40 years ago.  This was before the days of cell phone.  Someone managed to contact Tom on the yacht and he got to his car and was headed straight for the hospital.  On the way to the hospital, he heard a story on the radio that indicated there was an explosion in one of the neighborhoods and a child had been severely burned.  Tom knew that it was his son.

Again, Tom was a successful businessman and he had his son moved from the local hospital in Ohio to a hospital in Massachusetts that specialized in the most serious burns.  He stayed with his son for nearly 3 months.  Then things started to happen.  Tom’s son asked him if he could be baptized.  Tom thought it was an odd question because through family tradition, Nick had been baptized as an infant.  Apparently, people who visited Nick shared the Gospel with him and encouraged him to get baptized.  The arrangements were made, but Tom was not present for the baptism.

Sometime after the baptism, Tom was at the hospital sitting at Nick’s bedside and holding his hand.  Twelve year-old Nick asked his dad, “Do you know, Jesus, personally.”  Tom thought that was a strange question.  How could anyone know Jesus, he’s been gone for nearly 2000 years.  And he said, “Nick there is no way anyone could know Jesus personally.”   As Nick held his dad’s hand, he responded, I know Jesus and at that moment he passed away.

So later, Tom approached two different pastors about his conversation with Nick and neither could give him a straight answer.  One said something along the lines of kids say the strangest things. 

So nine years later, Wally is standing before Tom and tells him that he needs to know Jesus.  After exchanging a few words, Tom decides to go to church with Wally that evening.  Tom heard the Gospel for the first time and he gave his life to the Lord that evening.  The question that haunted him for years was answered and for Tom, a new journey had begun.

Today Tom has an active ministry entitled to SOSEvents.  If you attend the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, be sure to look for Tom’s booth.  Tom also has sons who are pastors or involved in other forms of ministry.

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