LISTEN: Dear Jerika Bolen, Before You Leave Us… (Gospel Light Minute X #270 with Daniel Whyte III)

Jerika Bolen surrounded by attendees at her prom.
Jerika Bolen surrounded by attendees at her prom.

Jerika Bolen is 14-years-old. And, when this summer is over, she plans to die.


Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

Jerika suffers spinal muscular atrophy type 2. According to USA Today, “The disease destroys nerve cells in the brain stem and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle activity, and a lack of movement causes the muscles to waste away. Jerika has never walked, and she says her pain is a seven on a scale of one to 10 on her best days. She can speak and has some movement of her hands, but the disease — and the pain — are only going to get worse.”

Jerika has made the decision to enter hospice care at the end of August, unhook her ventilator and die. This week, a prom event was held in her honor. Over 1,000 people — most of them complete strangers — turned out to make one of her last days alive fun, enjoyable, and memorable. Many expressed admiration of her bravery in making the decision to die before she lost the ability to do so.

But death is a big — a very big — event. There is no coming back from it. And while we may debate whether or not it is right for a person to choose their own death, there is one important thing that must be considered before death — whether planned or unplanned.

And that is, what happens AFTER death. Popular culture would have us believe that death is death, and that afterwards people inevitably “find peace.” But what comes after death is as much a decision as anything else in life. We can choose what happens to us after we die.

God has provided a way for people to truly find peace after death — not just peace in a metaphorical sense, but real lasting peace as a living being for all eternity. This way is through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The only way we can have a happy eternal future in Heaven is through Him; the alternative is the torment of eternity in Hell. Jesus Christ died on the cross for all of our sins, which are offensive to God, and which, unpaid for, will keep us out of Heaven. Because Jesus shed His blood on the cross, died in our place, and later rose from the dead, we do not have to go to Hell. If we trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we can go to Heaven to be with Him when we die.

If you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, here is how you can place your faith and trust in Him today.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

Believe by faith. Share the faith. And keep the faith! God Bless You!


Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.

He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.