From Death to Life
by Peter Wiebe
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He couldn’t remember what it felt like to be strong—what it was like to run outside with his friends, climb the cherry tree with his brothers, or wrestle with his Dad. Lying on this bed was his life now.
They had asked him if he wanted to go for a trip out of his room. He had chosen the ramp entrance of the hospital; that was the way home. Looking down through the glass, his dad had pointed out the green grass and the leaves on the trees. He liked that. It had been a long winter. His mom, dad, and brothers were all here now. He liked that too.
Gone were all the alarms, the whirring of the pumps, and the tangle of tubes. The nurses didn’t crowd around him constantly poking him, trying to give him medicine, or take him to another test. They did give him a bath once a day. It made him feel better.
Ever since his Dad told him, “They have no more medicine for you, son. The doctors think that you are going to die,” things had been quieter. Even the large man dressed in white just quietly sat there.
Patiently, he reclined on the couch in the spacious hospital room.
Sent to escort his charge from death into life, the Guardian had travelled from the very presence of God for this privileged assignment. The boy was young indeed by human standards, but the Lord had decided that the boy’s life was full.
The dad, bent over one side of the bed, tears streaming down his face, clutched his son’s left hand. The mom, on the opposite side of the bed, equally distraught, clung to her son’s other hand.
It seemed to the Guardian that each parent held on as if by that very act alone they could prevent the inevitable separation. The boy could see him now. Those crossing over into life could often see their escorts as they neared the threshold.
The Guardian stood.
Though the parents could not see him, the boy definitely took notice. The child was strong, even in his clay body. He fought for every breath, his chest heaving with the effort.
Soon, the child would see that shedding his mortal form was not death, but life itself. He would see that leaving his family was only for a short season, that he would in fact be going home—the very thing he so desired. He just did not recognize his true home, yet. And what a glorious homecoming it would be! The Lord delighted in showering his children in wonder and extravagance upon their arrival.
The Guardian approached the foot of the bed.
The boy looked directly at him. “My dad told me that I could go be with Jesus now.
Are you here to take me to Him?”
The boy’s dad lifted his head at the sound of his son’s voice. “Son, please…we couldn’t understand you”
The boy stared intently at the Guardian now. “What will they do with my toys? Will they put them in the basement?”
Unaware of the Guardian’s presence, but understanding the last words of his son, the boy’s dad said, “No, my son, we will not put them in the basement. We will take good care of your toys.”
The child asked no more questions. A short while later, the boy shivered and his bowels released. Then his heart stopped. He breathed once—then once more for the final time.
The Guardian reached out and took the boy’s hand. “Come, child, you are free!” There was the sound of moving air as he lifted the boy out of his broken shell.
The Guardian looked the boy in the eyes. "How do you feel?"
"I feel..." The boy hesitated. "I feel strong."
When the pastor arrived at the hospital later that afternoon, he embraced the boy's dad and wept bitterly. Then he stepped back and said,"Did you see the angels?"
The child's dad lowered his gaze. "No, we saw no angels."
The pastor straightened. "They were here."
© Peter Wiebe
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