“I know I have it right here.” Joe was trying to give explanation while he was frisking himself. Standing before God without your prayer notebook is an embarrassing moment. “Lord, I have my notebook with me all the time but this white robe you’ve given me doesn’t seem to have any pockets. I don’t know where it is. It’s probably still with my body back on earth.”
“Actually, my child, the ambulance driver gave it to your wife. It is in her purse now.”
“Yes, Sir, er, I mean Lord.”
“It was a simple question. Why can’t you answer it?”
“Please God. You know what I was thankful for. I had the list written in my prayer notebook. I had a section for the sick, a section listing what I was thankful for, a section for people...”
“I know all that.” The Lord interrupted, “I simply asked you what you were thankful for.” Jesus said while sitting on the judgement seat.
“Then you should know. I read the list in my prayers every, well, nearly every day.”
“I did not ask you to recite to me a list. I want to know from your heart what you are thankful for.”
Joe could sense that Christ was beginning to get a little perturbed. Joe could also feel the urgency running from his head to his feet; this was not the place to be at a loss for an answer. Joe knew he had to say something, “Lord, I kept a list of things in my prayer journal that I was thankful for and I mentioned them to you many times when I prayed. I am a little nervous here, I don’t remember all that was on the list.”
“Is it that you do not remember all that was on the list or that you do not remember the list at all?”
Joe dropped to his knees before the Lord. Those in the large crowd of humanity watching Joe and waiting their turn heard the sobs as Joe’s hands covered his face and his face falls to the ground before his Saviour.
“My son, you should never need a list. What you are thankful for should flow from your heart.”
Joe, from his prostrate position, lifted his head and right in front of his face was a nail scarred hand reaching for him. Joe took the hand and the Lord lifted him to his feet.
“Joe! Joe!” The voice seemed distant. Joe looked around. The closet door, the night stand, his wife. “Joe, honey what is the matter? You’ve been slashing around the bed for the last ten minutes.”
Sitting up, Joe realizes he is not at the judgement seat of Christ, he is in his bed.
“Yeah honey I’m alright.” Joe watches as his wife rolls over and settles back to sleep. Seeing, for the first time, not her dark brown hair, but her love and devotion to him. Seeing the compassion that is down in her heart. “Thank you Lord, I don’t deserve all this.” Is Joe’s silent prayer.
Joe climbs out of bed. Walking down the hall he sees the pictures on the wall. “Lord, these are not just pictures, they are memories and people that you have placed in my life. Look, Lord, there is mom and dad, you used them to mold me, thank you.”
The squeak as he opens his son’s door breaks the silence but in his mind Joe can hear the happy cry of “Daddy, Daddy.” Joe’s prayer continues: “Lord, how could my prayer life been so programed, how could my heart of been so cold. Thank you for my son.”
The sleeping wife and son never heard what happened next as Joe walked into the living room. Just as in his dream, Joe was on his knees, hands over his face sobbing, but this time not tears of shame. On the coffee table was an old wooden cross that Joe and his wife received as a wedding present some years before. “My God, my God, of my salvation, thank you, thank you.”