During the past three years, Carol, my bride of nearly forty seven years has suffered through the pain and disappointment of continuous physical attacks against her heart and body. She has endured multiple surgeries, endless medication changes, and constant monitoring by medical specialists - all of which initially improved her condition somewhat. But now, it’s a struggle to maintain the current levels, which seem to be slowly deteriorating with time.
Her “quality of life” is extremely limited - falling far short of the life that most of us are privileged to enjoy each day. As might be expected, Carol also has battled discouragement – that is, until a very special and exciting event which took place one night very recently. The next morning she could hardly wait to tell me about what had happened. To the best of my recollection, this is her true story of what took place that evening, plus my account of the following morning.
While she was praying at bedtime, she said, "Lord, You know that I've been through so much over the past three years. There's been so much pain and uncertainty. My physical and emotional needs are great - perhaps greater now than ever before. It seems that many have forgotten about me, because they don't ever call or come to visit. I trust in You, I lean on You, and You speak to me through Your Word. You're my all in all, but I need to know that You still love me."
"Please tell me that You still do. I need something I can feel, something I can see, something I can hear, or something I can touch that will tell me that You haven't abandoned me - for I love You so much and long to see You."
Carol told me that at one time during that night when she was awake, she suddenly saw a rider on a white horse on the far side of her large bedroom. She couldn't see the rider's face clearly, because both the rider and the horse had a glow about them making details impossible to distinguish. Her immediate thought was that Jesus was coming!
When Carol saw them, she quickly sat up in bed and called out, "Jesus...Jesus...Jesus!” At that point the rider and horse came closer to her - almost close enough for her to reach out and touch. Then, just as suddenly as they appeared, they were gone.
After sharing that story with me she said, "Don, I know that was an answer to my prayer last night. He still loves me because Jesus Himself showed up to give me assurance. And, He was seated on His white horse too! That told me He's coming back very soon, just as foretold in Revelation nineteen!”
I took her by the hand and said, "Yes, He loves you and He always will - and He is coming back very soon!" Then, our tears began to flow.
In the New Testament there were numerous times when Christ appeared suddenly to certain people. Four of those events from Scripture are summarized as follows:
1) Matthew 14:22-33 contains the account of Jesus’ disciples struggling at night in a boat on the Sea of Galilee in the midst of a raging storm. Jesus appeared suddenly in the pre-dawn darkness, and was seen by His frightened disciples walking nearby on the angry waters.
2) Another time, Jesus’ disciples had gathered together in the upper room as recorded in John 20:19-22. Since they feared for their safety, the men had closed the doors to the room. Suddenly, Jesus appeared and stood in their midst. After greeting the disciples, He showed them the wounds in His hands and His side, and commanded them to take the Gospel to the world. Then, Jesus breathed the power of the Holy Spirit into them – enabling the disciples to carry out the Great Commission.
3) It is recorded in Acts 9:3-7 that before Saul’s (Paul) conversion and while he was traveling on the road to Damascus, Saul was suddenly blinded and knocked to the ground by a powerful light, brilliantly emanating from God’s glory. With an audible voice, Jesus spoke and identified Himself to the trembling Saul, who was immediately converted from a life of persecuting Christians, to become the great New Testament writer named Paul.
4) The first chapter of Revelation reveals to us that the apostle John had been exiled to the Isle of Patmos for his testimony of Jesus Christ. Although John had not seen Jesus since His ascension into heaven sixty years earlier, Jesus suddenly appeared to John and commanded him to write the Book of Revelation (circa A.D. 90’s). The purpose of the Revelation was to unfold the great events bringing history to consummation, including the revelation of Jesus Christ at His second advent.
The other night Carol reached out in heartfelt prayer to her Savior and Lord for comfort, understanding, and assurance. Do I believe He answered her prayer in the way she described? Yes, I do!
I truly believe that Jesus appeared to Carol in her special moment of need. Whether it happened through a vision or a physical appearance, I don’t know. What I do know is that He was present in the room to give her assurance that He loves her, that He cares for her, and that she is safe and secure in the palm of His hand forever.
It’s just like Him to do that for His own, don’t you think? Hallelujah! What a Savior!
The lyrics of the hymn, “Under His Wings”, as penned by the songwriter were based on the message found in Psalm 91. The words of that song seem fitting to summarize the promises and emotions of the moment.
UNDER HIS WINGS
Words by William O. Cushing
Music by Ira D. Sankey
Under His wings I am safely abiding;
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me;
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings, my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.
Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to its rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blest.
Under His wings, O what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life's trials are over;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me;
Resting in Jesus I'm safe evermore.
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