Heaven Bound

Little Book of Miracles Series

It’s easy to lose the awe that comes when we experience direct answers to specific prayers. We think we’ll remember, but the mundane and the busy redirect our brains, and those amazing moments can be lost. Some years ago, I began recording each of those treasured times, those times when I just knew it was God’s yes in a very specific way. I call it my Little Book of Miracles—and I’m now on book four. In the month of March, I’m excited to share a few of these precious stories with you. Some are profound. Some are almost silly. Yet all of them remind me of the ways God has met my needs and often my wants … miraculously. I hope you enjoy celebrating these moments with me, and I urge you to start your own Little Book of Miracles.

But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. —Acts 7:55 ESV

She was a great piano student. She’d always wanted to play, but money was scarce in her childhood, and a piano was out of the question. So she learned another instrument instead. I think it might have been the clarinet. But when you want to play the piano … another instrument just won’t do. That was why, in her fifties, she was taking piano lessons from me. She practiced faithfully. She sat herself down at that piano and went to work each week. She pushed herself to do well. And somewhere between the scales and the sharps and the flats, we became friends.

The day she told me she had cancer again was a hard one. She made it easier by joking about it. “I had cancer when my children were small,” she said. “And I asked God to let me live long enough to see them as adults. Now, why didn’t I ask Him for longer than that?” I loved the way this dear friend could turn something so scary into something humorous.

She fought it. She was a nurse and knew how to take care of herself. She’d always walked and exercised and that didn’t stop. She changed her diet. She did all the treatments. She continued to be her plucky self, practicing piano through chemo and radiation and hardly ever missing a lesson through it all. Some things changed, though. The amount of time we spent talking increased. It can be hard to talk about approaching death with your own family. They love you too much and just the mention of it causes them grief. Being sensitive to that, she talked to me instead.

During one of those talks, she told me the thing she dreaded most was being stuck in a bed. This active woman couldn’t imagine being unable to take her daily walks, even though walking had become excruciatingly painful at times. She wanted reassurance that God really exists, and Heaven was all really, really true. So, sitting on that piano bench one day, I held her hands in mine and prayed. We asked for two things. First, we asked God that she would be able to keep walking until the day He took her home … whenever that day came. Then, we asked Him to let her see Jesus before she died, just like Stephen in the New Testament. “In Jesus’ Name,” we prayed. “Amen.”

Stephen, the church’s first martyr, was stoned to death for preaching what his fellow Jews called blasphemy. God, in His grace and mercy, opened up Heaven for Stephen so that, as those stones fell and broke his body, his eyes beheld his living Savior. He died joyfully as we read in Acts:

Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. … And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

—Acts 7:54-60 ESV

My friend also died. Ray and I arrived at the wake early before any other guests. In that quiet time, her husband and her son joyfully shared the story of her final moments. She had taken a walk the day before she died. God answered that prayer for her. Just before her death, the sun streamed in her window, and she sat straight up and lifted her hands toward Heaven with a smile on her face. Yes, she did! Oh, can you imagine my tears of gratitude mingling with those of her dear husband and son. God heard the prayer of a simple piano teacher and her student, sitting on a bench together—and He said yes. He numbers our days, and He chose to take her home, but with such kindness and with a joyous, lasting memory to her beloveds as well.

Father, it’s never easy to let a loved one go, but, oh, how I thank You for easing the way for my friend. Lord, thank You for the confirmation of Your love in her home going. Someday, Lord, I, too, would love to see Jesus right before I die. I’m so very thankful I am heaven bound. Because of Jesus, my King, I pray, Amen.

You are loved,
Sharon

 

 

Sweet Selah Ministries

Vision
To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service

Mission 
To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

Donate
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4 Responses to “Heaven Bound”

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  1. Margaret Fowler says:

    Thank you and of course you made me cry. A beautiful story.

  2. Judy Elliott says:

    This is such a wonderful story of prayer and friendship and God’s way for us. And taking note of God’s presence in the big and the small things in our lives - I love it!

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