By Mark Ellis –
President Ronald Reagan penned a heartfelt evangelistic appeal to his dying father-in-law – a professed atheist — during the last week of his life, revealing the magnitude of President Reagan’s personal faith and depth of concern for the man’s eternal destiny.
As a probable result of the letter, Nancy Reagan’s stepfather, Dr. Loyal Davis, called for a chaplain to pray with him at his bedside two days before his death.
“Nancy Reagan, who was with Loyal Davis when he died, and who saved the letter he received from his son-in-law, would later claim that her father did turn to God at the end of his life,” noted Karen Tumulty in the Washington Post. Tumulty discovered the letter in a box of Nancy Reagan’s personal effects.
As a result of the letter and the visit, Dr. Davis approached his final moments with peace, rather than fear, Mrs. Reagan said later.
Here is the text of the letter:
“Loyal I know of your feeling — your doubt but could I just impose on you a little longer? Some seven hundred years before the birth of Christ the ancient Jewish prophets predicted the coming of a Messiah. They said he would be born in a lowly place, would proclaim himself the Son of God and would be put to death for saying that.
“All in all there were a total of one hundred and twenty three specific prophesys [sic] about his life all of which came true. Crucifixion was unknown in those times, yet it was foretold that he would be nailed to a cross of wood. And one of the predictions was that he would be born of a Virgin.
“Now I know that is probably the hardest for you as a Dr. to accept. The only answer that can be given is — a miracle. But Loyal I don’t find that as great a miracle as the actual history of his life. Either he was who he said he was or he was the greatest faker & charlatan who ever lived. But would a liar & faker suffer the death he did when all he had to do to save himself was admit he’d been lying?
“We have been promised that all we have to do is ask God in Jesus name to help when we have done all we can — when we’ve come to the end of our strength and abilities and we’ll have that help. We only have to trust and have faith in his infinite goodness and mercy.
“Loyal, you and Edith have known a great love — more than many have been permitted to know. That love will not end with the end of this life. We’ve been promised this is only a part of life and that a greater life, a greater glory awaits us. It awaits you together one day and all that is required is that you believe and tell God you put yourself in his hands. Love, Ronnie”
The prominent neurosurgeon passed into eternity August 19th, 1982 due to complications of congestive heart failure. He was 86.