I awoke suddenly, somewhat astonished.
My thoughts immediately turned to my family. Looking over I saw my husband Jerry and we shared a smile.
Unable to speak, I looked out our window and saw a morning horizon streaked with gold, crimson, and white. Great billowing clouds had come up in the night.
A sense of expectancy rose in my heart like none ever before. Looking at Jerry, I could tell he felt it too.
I began wondering about Susie, our daughter in Tacoma, and her husband Mike. I especially wondered about Mike, and began to pray earnestly.
Worry tinged my thoughts as they turned to my best friend Karen. I recalled a recent conversation.
“I just think with all the problems of this world, there can't possibly be a God, Susan”, she'd said, looking down as she slowly stirred her coffee.
“Karen, try to look beyond all of that and see the beauty of a starry sky, or the way your son Craig looked when he was born. Do you really think that's all just a cosmic coincidence?”
Doubt lingered momentarily, but my thoughts moved on to my sister Mary.
“Sharon, don't you have to believe there's a God in heaven?” She was looking out of a hospital window as she said it. She was only eight years old when she died of childhood leukemia. I smiled warmly at the thought of seeing her again.
“Someday soon, Lord. I know it has to be someday soon.”
I got up and got my Bible and read some in one of Paul's letters to the Thessalonians. Putting the book on the table beside me, I felt deeply drawn to begin praying.
I prayed first for Mike and for my whole family. “Make them believe, Lord. Let them believe before the day you come back. And let that be soon, Lord, please, soon...but no sooner than they come to know you please.”
I lifted prayers for my friend Karen, and for her husband Jack and for Craig. “Make them believers too Lord. Don't let them be left behind.”
As I sat with head bowed, I thought of others, of a co-worker with a terminal disease; of an old friend I hadn't seen in ages; and of a cousin in Topeka who could use prayers for a failing marriage.
As these things came to mind, I suddenly heard a sound that went straight to my heart and made it leap with an incredulous joy!
As I began to feel lighter and more airy, worry began to drop from me like the falling leaves of Autumn. A warmth pervaded my soul and body as on the first day of Spring after a long and trying Winter.
I continued to have thoughts about family and friends, and about co-workers and neighbors, and about a lot of people I'd met or even just heard about, including people in the church.
“Lord, make them believers, now, please!” I prayed, boldly, even as I lifted my eyes to a sight I had only dared dream I'd see before passing from this life.
As I watched, transfixed, the clouds rolled back, and descending from them was the most beautiful sight anyone could possibly ever have conceived of beholding.
Dimly I became aware of those around me. There was Jerry, close by, looking at me too, a smile that conveyed gratitude and peace on his face.
And there was my daughter Susie, laughing with great joy. Beside her was Mike and their children Beth and Conner. My heart swelled within me.
My friend Karen came to mind and there she was! And there was her son Craig, too. She looked over at me and I could easily read the thoughts in her mind, as she smiled at me and looked at her little boy; forever together.
Others I'd prayed for this morning began to appear. The co-worker with the terminal disease, his face lifted in joy and praise.
A few I didn't see, but the Lord didn't allow my mind to linger on that as I turned my gaze at long last heavenward again.
Because, there I was, face to face with the One who was and is my great Reward, my Redeemer, my Savior, and my Friend.
And there in the air, without another thought of earthly things, problems, or worries, we gathered around Him and our songs of praise and worship filled the heavens as we ascended with Him into Glory.
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