April 20th, 2021 is the first memorial anniversary of my brother Calvin Erick Jones’ homegoing to be with the Lord. I am so thankful on many levels for the witness of God’s Grace, Love, and Mercy toward him the last couple of weeks of his life.
On the morning of 4/12/2020 an hour or so before Calvin’s last trip to the hospital, he called me into his room and asked me to pray with him. My response to him was, “Have you repented and asked the Lord to forgive you of sins?” He quickly said. “Yes.” I told him that I would pray with him. That day happened to be Resurrection (Easter) Sunday. My heart was so full, I could hardly pray. I began reciting the 23rd Psalm. This was the second scripture that Calvin and I learned as wee little kids perhaps at the age of 4 and 5 years. The first scripture we had learned was the Lord’s Prayer. So, being preacher kids did prove to have its perks. We prayed together, then shortly afterwards he felt the need to go to the emergency room. The Lord assured me he would return. And return he did. That in and of itself was such a great witness to the resolve of God’s salvation in the heart of man.
Calvin Eric Jones
After 4 days in the hospital, Calvin removed every apparatus from his body and refused any further medical treatment. He simply demanded to be brought home. With his siblings on a four-way phone call talking to him, we were clear that he wanted to come home. From what we were told, he sat in a recliner by the window overlooking the helipad on the roof of the hospital from Friday until he was returned home Sunday, the evening of 4/19.
Calvin was visibly shaken as the paramedics brought him through the front door on a stretcher. They began to pun with him because he told them the entire way that they were not bringing him to his sister. So, they made a $50 bet with him. When he saw my face, one of the techs said, “Mr. Jones, you owe us $50. You are home with your sister just as we promised.” Calvin looked at me in unbelief; I assured him. “Yes, you’re home, bro.”
Once they got him settled Calvin noticed that I had his favorites on his television, the Western Classics. But I switched back and forth from the westerns to the Bible Screen on the Faithlifetv app. Aside from beautiful scenes, he saw many scriptures from the New Testament and the Words of Christ.
At 4:30 the next morning, I heard my brother’s voice calling me. His voice was still strong. “Diane, Diane!” He had always called me by my middle name. I hurried from my room to him just to hear him say, “Trust in the Lord.” I said, “Okay, Okay, I will trust in the Lord.” I squeezed his hand and headed back to my room. I sat on the side of the bed in beautiful wonderment of what the Lord was doing. You see, a year earlier Calvin said he was an atheist. He was declaring that he did not believe in a God he could not see. In my heart I knew that was not true. Calvin had measured himself by the Goodness of God and saw his life did not measure up to the Righteousness of God. So, he just decided not to believe in Him. But how Amazing is the Grace of God!
As I sat on the side of my bed, I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me back to lie beside him. I grabbed my pillow and curled up on the right side of him. Calvin maintained his cognizant abilities right up to the moment of passing. His mind was sharp till the end.
Five minutes into laying beside him, Calvin said in a mumbled voice, “He came!” I was not sure what he said at first, so I asked him. A little louder and clearer he said, “He came!” I said, “Who?” after I thought for a second, I said, “Jesus?” Calvin said, “YES! He touched my finger!” Tears of joy flooded my eyes. I told Calvin that the Lord has accepted his repentance. He had nothing to fear at all.
Later into the morning hours our brother Archie and sister Rosemary spoke with him on a three-way call. Shortly afterwards, I called my pastor Wade Hall. He asked Calvin if he could pray with him; Calvin said yes. I know Calvin was at peace with everything. I could only be quiet. I needed to hear the voice of God. I was not certain what would be next.
Around noon, a nurse came in from a home hospice agency to check him and make certain he was comfortable. I never mentioned this before. But after she left, I was led to baptize my brother… yes… in his bed. Of course, I could not lift him, but the Lord led me what to do. When I finished the process, I went to my room and sat on the side of my bed with a blank stare. My mind and heart understood this was a form of baptism for my brother.
I’m certain there will be skeptics and ‘learned ones’ who would frown upon most of this experience and throw it under the ‘mystic’ bus. But that is okay. The Lord knows why it happened and why He allowed me to witness His Mercy towards Calvin. It is to tell others, Never Underestimate God’s Mercy. Isn’t it always the reason? The message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is about Love, Grace, Salvation, Mercy and so much more… like Eternal Life in Him.
I am sharing this with anyone who would read it for this very purpose. Never wait for a crisis to get close to God. We can be close to the Lord now, through understanding why Christ died. The (wages) payment for sin is death (eternal separation from God); but the Gift of God is Eternal Life with Him. That Gift is Jesus Christ who died in our place. Our sins were placed upon Him. He was sacrificed so that we would not have to pay that penalty for sin. But each one of us must believe in who He is and receive Him in our hearts. He will forgive us when we repent; and He will give us His Holy Spirit.
Who exactly would walk away from this? It is a gift. It is a finished work, and He does not leave us helpless; He gives us the Holy Spirit. Choose life. Calvin did.