I certainly do, and not only because I have seen it with my own eyes. I want to tell you about something pretty incredible that once happened to me.
Easter seems to be an ideal time to ponder heaven and the glory of the life that never ends. After all, it was on Easter when God pulled back the veil and allowed man to see the grandest of all miracles firsthand.
But is the miraculous limited to the days of the Old and New Testament? Do angels still swirl in the whirlwind and direct the storms of modern-day life?
When I was just nine years old, I saw something that made a tremendous impression on me. The day of my mother’s funeral was sunny, but as we arrived at the cemetery, a tremendous wind blew up and the skies darkened. The weather mirrored my mood. My mom was dead and as I stood by her graveside and waited to see her casket lowered into the ground, tears fell fast upon my feet. My life as I had known it was now over. The wind served as a metaphor, disrupting what was supposed to be a calm service. All hope seemed lost.
But just as the minister completed his remarks, everyone in attendance looked up and saw that a strange cloud configuration had developed in the distance, revealing what looked like a staircase straight up into the sky.
A wonderful feeling of peace and joy swept over me. I believe that God used that moment to remind me that my dear mother, who had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior just days earlier, had walked those white steps on her way up to glory.
Some might dismiss such a moment as childlike emotion, but everybody that was there that day saw exactly the same thing. In fact, my brother, Mike, who was in the Navy and living a very worldly life was so taken by what he saw that he began to investigate Christianity. He subsequently committed his life to Jesus and is now a strong believer.
I have heard stories that give me chills, like the one of a small dying child who heard the bells of heaven all throughout the day of his death. Just recently I heard of a colleague’s mother who suddenly reached up and just as she finished her final prayer and said “Amen!” – she died.
I heard another one about a man who, as he was slipping away, kept whispering the same sentence over and over. “You’re cold, Dad?” his son asked. “No!” his father replied softly but firmly. “I see gold, gold, GOLD!!” And then he was gone.
A local pastor has observed that in the 30 plus years he’s been visiting with the dying, the introduction of morphine has actually decreased these types of incidents.
“Drugs can dull the senses,” he said. “But I believe there is a very thin wall between the here and the hereafter, especially at the hour of death. I have had many people ask me to stop talking – so that they can listen to what they see happening in Heaven!”
Have you ever wondered what the dying see just before Jesus welcomes them home?
What does this have to do with Easter?
Because Jesus defeated death, we don’t have to fear or fight it. Because He took the pain and the penalty we deserve, we can look forward to life eternal with Him. The Bible gives us hints about what Heaven will be like, but there isn’t a ton of detail. Perhaps that’s why it’s so exciting to catch a glimpse of what awaits us from another person, even while we’re still here on earth.
Do you have a story about a loved one’s final moment? Did the person report seeing or hearing something that hinted of Heaven and life beyond the grave? Would you be willing to share with me your story of a final moment with a loved one who reported seeing or hearing something extraordinary?
To read and hear of the miraculous gives hope and encouragement to all of us. The death of a loved one is something to mourn. Separation is painful. But knowing that we’re going to see them again in Heaven makes all the difference in the world.
After all, as the late John Paul II so eloquently once said, as Christians, “We are the Easter people – and hallelujah is our song!”