“For I consider that the suffering of this present time are not worthy to be compared with that which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8: 18
Before Easter of the year 2010 the ‘black box’ of the wreckage that crashed down on my life was found; but its secrets belong to God. Everything that had to do with penetrating my heart was recorded: Mark, a youth from my 1996 youth group, was dying of a heroin overdose. My sister Hermie lost both her daughter and grandchild in a motorcar accident. I was summoned to rush to my sister Joan’s death bed as she was dying from meningitis and 2 strokes. And in the midst of this a film company was negotiating to film and distribute my life story internationally. South Africa was counting down the days to the world soccer tournament and Kim and I were counting the days to her home coming holiday.
Now a strange think happened to me with the death of my sister Jean six months before entering 2010. And now I was to have the same experience just before the death of Mark.
To understand what happened it is necessary for you to know that God is Spirit and God is not bound by time and space.
“But beloved do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3: 8
Jean’s death (not Joan)
It was only two telephones being desperately clutched by Jean’s friend Chammy and me that brought me to a closed door, behind which Jean was dying. Me in Durban; Chammy in a Johannesburg hospital.
They would not let Chammy in to put the phone to Jeans ear.
Jesus, I need to speak to my sister. It is Your will that all be saved. Speak to the medical staff to let Chammy in with the phone so that I can tell Jean to call on Your name. Jean was still alive. There was still life. She could still make a decision for You.
The Holy Spirit’s reminder of God’s Word moved me to action.
In John 4: 49 Jesus healed a nobleman’s child without being with the child.
“The Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away.” (Acts 8:39)
“Then the Spirit lifted me up and took me away.” (Ezekiel 3: 14)
“Then the Spirit lifted me up into the sky and transported me to Jerusalem in a vision from God.” (Ezekiel 8: 3)
My relationship with God was not a ‘break the glass in case of emergency’ relationship. It was intimate and daily through Jesus Christ and His word.
I fell to my knees and prayed. “Jesus, take me to Jean.”
Then I was with Jean.
“Jean, call on the name of Jesus. Believe in Him.”
And now, 6 months after Jeans death, my spiritual son’s drug infested body was picked up on a pavement in Cape Town. 12 years ago this young man accepted Jesus as his Lord and his Saviour.
Mark was young and Mark was beautiful. Mark was also sad. By the time he had come to live on the Bluff with his aunt at the age of 14, life had already punched so many holes in to him that whatever kindness he received just leaked out to be lost in the ground.
“….the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
The decision was made to pull the plug on Mark. The life supporting machines on this side of life switched off. It was the other side I was worried about.
One day later Mark was still alive. Two days later, Mark was still alive. Three days later, Mark was still alive.
That roaming lion was pulling at the carpet under my feet. My prayers were flying around in the spiritual realm in all directions. My struggle was varying from giving up to engaging in full fledge war.
I was angry. I wanted to take this drug stained Mark and rub him in to every youth and shout: “This is the plan Satan has for you! Have a good look! Take that first drug and see your ending! This will be you lying in your own vomit on a pavement; forgotten. But if you think this ending is bad, you aint seen nothing yet! After this comes eternal hell. Eternally cut off from God, cursed and thrown in to the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25: 41). Make your choice today. Choose Jesus. Be hungry for Him. Go, read all about Him. Feed and feed and feed on Jesus so that when you are tempted you can resist the devil and stand; so that when you fall you will get up. Jesus came to give you life in abundance. Don’t believe Satan’s lies about having fun. Take the step. Put your hand in the hand of Jesus. He gives eternal life. Oh how He loves you!!!!!
At this time my quiet time reading was in Genesis.
‘Is anything too hard for the Lord” Genesis 18:14
Lord, save Mark.
“…since I have begun, let me speak further to my Lord, even thought I am but dust and ashes” Genesis 18:27
Lord, save Mark. I plead with you. He accepted You as Lord when he was 14. Oh Lord, keep that covenant, even though he was unfaithful; show Your mercy. Hear my prayer. I pray in the righteousness of Jesus. Please. Please. Let it be true that my prayer has power. Then I will never stop praying for all my children and people.
“When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the Lord was merciful. Genesis 19: 16
I fell down on my face and visited Mark in his coma.
“Mark, this is Aunty Glenda. Do you remember you gave your life to Jesus at the youth group in my home? Mark call on the name of Jesus. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God and died for your sins. “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity” (Psalm 51: 7,9,)
“But God had listened to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe, …” Gen. 19: 29
Next day. Enter: doubting Thomas. I did not need to look in a mirror to see the devil sitting squarely on my left shoulder. “You weren’t really by Mark, you know. You weren’t really by Jean, you know. You only think this to make yourself feel better.”
I am so ashamed to admit that I fell in to doubt and depression. I was so sad. While with Mark and with Jean, praying for them, it was more real than this moment is; I was at total peace.
Jesus, I am like Thomas, I need to see the nail marks in your hand. I need a sign. I know to Job you gave nothing but to Gideon you did. I put my fleece out.
My friend Eliza is a gift from God on whose shoulder I can always cry and she reassured me that God will reassure me, as He always does.
The next day I was out walking my dog at the boxing club grounds. Suddenly a van drives in to the deserted area and straight towards me. An angry looking lady gets out and places herself before me. “We have church here and your dog messes on our grounds.”
My heart was still sobbing and it did not take much for the tears to leave my heart and expose themselves to this unknown lady, Veronica. I told her about Mark and about Jean and my experience.
Veronica knows Jesus. She assures me that they were saved and that Jesus took them home. She told me of the guy who did not know God at all and ‘died’ when a jelly fish got hold of him. While this man was in a coma the Holy Spirit converted him because his mother was praying for him. This guy returned to tell the tale. She told me to get the DVD ‘Dead Man Walking’. While she talked I felt the Holy Spirit lift me and I knew that Jesus was using this woman’s mouth to reassure me. God even used my dog to bring us together.
(By the way, I always walk with a cut off coke bottle or 2lt milk bottle and a packet to pick up my dog’s poo. Jesus wants us to keep our world clean and to consider others.)
The story does not end there. My tenant, Paul then comes up to me and tells me he has a movie for me. Yes you guessed it; Dead Man Walking! Also called “A Glimpse of Eternity” What a faithful God we serve. He meets us in our weaknesses. (I believe there is another movie by Shaun Penn also called “Dead Man walking” It is not that movie. This movie is a Christian film by a man named Ian McCormack.
I want you to know that I did not wait for Jean to be on her death bed before telling her about Jesus. I never let an opportunity pass without telling about Jesus. If necessary I made opportunities. Jean had visited me 6 months before her death and I again had explained to her how we were cut off from God because of our sin and how God gave us Jesus to die for those sins so that we can be reunited with God and have eternal life. All she had to do was to believe what God had done and to embrace Jesus.
I only remember now, when Jean’s son, Shane, had committed suicide about 10 years ago, that she had put her hand up in the funeral service and had repeated the sinners prayer.
Her friend told me that Jean complained about me trying to convert her but at the same time she now started watching Christian programs on television and talked about what she was seeing and hearing. The Holy Spirit was putting a thirst and a hunger for Jesus in her. So there I was in the Spirit with my sister Jean sharing Jesus one more time before she left this world for good. God is so good.
“He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness.” (Daniel 2: 22)
When you are sixty and the youngest of 5 sisters you expect that Jesus could be nearing completion of preparing a place and ready to fetch one of you. Then when He came to fetch my second oldest sister Hermie’s only daughter and grand daughter in one go you feel the crash, the silence and the darkness.
It happened in the night. It was a car accident near Graaff Reinet. 9 January 2010. Two weeks before Hermie’s 70th birthday
It must have been a terrible crash and then a terrible silence and then a terrible darkness.
That darkness, cold and silent enfolded itself around all our sisters.
“The Lord does whatever pleases Him” Psalm 135: 6
“For everything serves Your plans” Psalm 119: 91
“The Lord has made heaven His throne, from there He rules everything.” Psalm 1o3: 19.
I don’t know what people do who don’t know God.
I can only tell you what happened as I see it. I can never go in to Hermie’s heart and experience it. All I could do was to cry together with her on the phone.
My letter to my daughter Kimmie can capture my first thought and prayers.
Good morning Kimmie,
I did not sleep much. I also thought of all the people in the Bible who lost their children. I know Jacob could not be consoled when he was told Joseph was dead. David fell to pieces when Absalom was killed, even though Absalom had tried to kill him. David also would not eat when his baby from Bathsheba was deadly ill. Job lost all his kids in one go. Mary thought she lost her Son Jesus. I don’t know why I am shocked that God let it happen.
My first prayer in every one of my diaries are “Let Your Will Be Done” (together with ‘let me love you and don’t let me leave You.) So this is Gods will. All I can do is watch my sister crumble as if acid was poured over her body and soul and I can do nothing to stop it.
I can hope that God will have it in His will that Jesus fetches Hermie soon so that the pain will go away and she can be with the loving God who will explain everything to her (or wont have to because it wont matter then.) And she will see her beloved daughter and grand daughter and sister and husband, and all the mourning will turn to laughter and a joy that has not been experienced in this world.
I am on prayer duty in the church today. That is a hard one. For whatever request I will pray: God, you know what you have ordained in this day for this person. I thank You that You are in control and that You know what is best for us to prepare us for Your Kingdom. I will stand back and let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
God said: “I will never leave you not forsake you.”
Jesus said: “I am with you always.”
Love you, Kimmie, my child, for now and for eternity. I thank God that you are His child.
Funny enough, we had a memorial service today for one of the congregation’s mother who passed away two years ago. So it was all about death and pain and then life and resurrection. We also sang “I have a friend in Jesus”.
The one thing that really stuck out was the verse in Romans 8: 18, “I consider what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us” and I thought of aunty Hermie and all her suffering, but the joy of knowing her child is with Jesus and soon she will be with Jesus and the suffering will be turned to joy multiplied by millions. Hope is so important and we can pray that aunty Hermie will be blessed and comforted and continue to do the work God has prepared for her, because the work of her daughter is finished now. Jesus said he will comfort those who mourn.
I phoned Hermie and it was such an uplifting talk. I told her about your sermon and she was happy. I truly see what God can do in a life. I underestimated God and I apologized to Him. We talked about the things you said and God’s plans and the blessed assurance of his care and we even laughed. Her son and daughter in law will be here from America next week. They also love the Lord and there is so much love. Hermie tells me her church had a special service and the minister asked for silence to hold Hermie up in prayer. She said she felt her spirit move at that time. It strengthened my faith in prayer. The power is there where it is needed.
My Bible reading at this time is Leviticus 10. Aaron lost both his sons in one go. Just like Hermie. Aaron was silent. God told him the family could morn by tearing their clothes and not combing their hair but he was not allowed to mourn as he was anointed. My heart cried for him. The whole 10 is so sad. It just goes to show Gods absolute holiness. I thought of Hermie who is such an example for Jesus. She is comforting those who come to comfort her. Christians seem to mourn in a different way. It is because we know that life with Jesus here continues in to eternity after the death of the body.