A Message For My Friends (written May, 2010)

People will ask me, “Johnny, how do you have such a positive attitude and peace about what you’re going through? “If a doctor told you today that you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and that 95% of patients don’t live past five years of being diagnosed, how would you respond?

The reality is that we all are going to die at some point, some earlier than others. The following is the most important question you will ever be asked…If you were to die tonight and stand before God and if he were to ask, “Why should | let you into my heaven?” What would you say? Someone asked me that question about 33 years ago and I answered, “Well, I’ve tried to be an honest guy. I go to church. I try to do the right thing and be kind to people. I know I’ve sinned but compared to those around me, I think I’m a pretty good guy. I like to think my good deeds have outweighed my bad deeds.

I was shocked when this person shared with me that none of those things have anything to do with getting into heaven! And God doesn’t grade on the curve! He went on to say that heaven is a free gift and that I could not work or earn my way into heaven. “For by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —not by works so that no one can boast.”(Ephesians 2:8-9) He also shared that if | was trying to be “good enough” to get into heaven, I would never measure up because God’s standard is perfection. “Be perfect, therefore, just as your father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) Obviously, no one is perfect. Everyone comes up short because we all have sinned. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) He showed me that “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

This person shared with me that the only way for me to get into heaven is to confess my sins, turn from them, and ask Jesus to come into and direct my life. He paid the price for my sins when he came to earth as a man, and died on the cross as a substitute for my sins. And He is alive today and sits at the right hand of God the Father. He went on to say that going to church or mass would not earn my way into heaven. Only a personal relationship with Christ would qualify, And this is the ONLY way into heaven. Christ said, “! am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

The reality is that life on this earth is just a whisper and eternity is forever. Every one of us will spend eternity in one of two places. We will either be in heaven with God, or we will spend eternity separated from Him.

People ask me how I am relaxed in the face of this awful disease, knowing the low survival rate. And the answer is, I know I am going to heaven when I die and that I will spend eternity with God. The greatest burden on my heart the last three weeks has not been the fear of death, but a real burden that all my friends, associates and family have that same security of where they will spend eternity. I know where I’m going when I die, and the reason for this letter is that I want EACH OF YOU TO BE WITH ME for eternity whenever we each leave this earth!

If you are sincere and truly desire to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can pray a prayer similar to the following: “Lord Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner and in need of forgiveness. I do believe that you paid my penalty by your death on the cross. So right now I ask you to become Lord and Savior of my life. Thank you for hearing my prayer, paying my debt, and bearing my punishment. | turn from my sins and receive you as Savior. Amen!”

(The following was written in May, 2022):
By God’s grace, I am still alive 12 years past diagnosis. People tell me that God must really need me here. I tell them God doesn’t need me for anything! I know I am still here for a reason – to get the good news of the gospel out to as many as I can while I am still here. Regardless of what happens in the days and years ahead, I want you to know that I am confident of God’s sovereignty and trust His plan for my life. I want you to know that you can trust Him, too.

In His love and peace,
Johnny U.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)