Roger was a Vietnam Veteran who fought in the Battle of Long Tan. Outnumbered with little ammunition prior to a relief force arriving, Roger’s best mate was killed alongside him and he barely escaped with his life.
The Australian forces ultimately won the Battle of Long Tan, but returned home to severe criticism. Roger was frowned upon, spat on and called a child murderer, and it messed with his head.
He became a recluse. He hated politicians, most other people and especially hated God. Roger and many others like him felt betrayed by his country.
Every opportunity he had, Roger would put Christians down and put God down. His favourite saying was: “How could there be a God!”. He turned to Buddhism and lived on his own on 40 acres in the NSW north coast.
Occasionally, Roger would need tradesmen. Bill, a Christian handyman, met Roger and would call in to say g’day every six weeks or so and do repair work.
The regular greeting was a mouthful of abuse from Roger condemning Christianity. Bill would respond with a smile and say “put the billy on and let’s have a cuppa”. He refused to speak about God and visited Roger for 20 years.
At age 70, Roger was diagnosed with terminal cancer. One day, Bill visited Roger’s house to see him sitting on his bed slumped over in pain. He didn’t know Bill was there.
There was beautiful music coming from Roger’s bedroom, but there was no radio, CD player or TV in the room. Bill had heard that same music once before. Unseen angels were visiting Roger’s room and were singing “Hallelujah, Praise to God”. The beautiful music was all around him.
Roger then passed out on the floor and an ambulance was immediately called.
The next day, Bill visited Roger in Lismore Base Hospital. He was very close to death. Suddenly, Roger sat up, looked at the ceiling and his eyes brightened.
He exclaimed: “I see Jesus at the right hand of God.” A big smile lit up Roger’s face and then he laid back down and died.
Roger is now with God who loved him so dearly, even though he didn’t know it until the last week of his life. This is how God loves every one of us.
It’s Easter in a few days’ time when we celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection. Faith in him opens Eternity to us. Have a happy and blessed Easter.
Pam Sammut, Pastor – Tenterfield Community Church
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