This is not fiction. The details will differ widely, but some version of the essence of this happens to every believer in Jesus who leaves this life before the Lord’s return. I have heard from family members and read about others’ experiences enough to know that this is real, for those who have turned to King Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins and for eternal life.
Only my body is eighty-four years old. My mind is a little forgetful these days, but I still remember the important things. There’s not much in this world that’s important to me any more. So many changes are small at first. Cell phones, good grief. They didn’t even exist until I was in my forties. After a while it seemed like you had to have one. Then they became an electronic leash. Now … they’re part of a spy network. Don’t even know who’s spying on us any more, but we can’t take a deep breathe without triggering something. The government even has spy cameras on the road to keep track of where we drive by photographing our license plates. “Land of the free”, my caudal fin.
I remembered how to get here. I haven’t walked these woods since … when? I guess I was … forty-eight then. Laura was still alive. I took a few days off work and we hiked in about seven miles and camped. I’m not far from there now, but the rest of the way is uphill, and my chest is starting to ache.
Laura was my life, from the time we married until I said goodbye to her in that cancer ward and handed her over to the Lord to take tender care of until I join her in Heaven. She was such a happy woman! The perfect partner. The best thing in my life, aside from being loved and forgiven and saved by King Jesus.
I never got over the fact that Laura loved me. I mean, I’m not ugly or socially unacceptable, but … when a woman truly loves a man, if he’s any kind of man at all, it shakes him and shapes him for the rest of his life. My life would have been a lot less happy and a lot more difficult without Laura. God truly brought us together, and I will never stop thanking Him for her.
When she died I was shaken. Physically staggered. For a while I was afraid that any move might bring on a heart attack.
It’s been four years since she died. Our kids were grown and on their own long ago. No grandkids. It wasn’t meant to be. They keep checking on me, but this world … I don’t like what my beloved nation has been replaced by. I was drawing away from it even while Laura was still alive. Now there’s so little left that I even recognize.
This was not the world anyone was supposed to live in. It was mangled by sin from the time Adam ate the forbidden fruit. It got so bad that God sent a world-wide flood and started all over again, but sin traveled on the ark with Noah. Inside Noah. I think the return of the Lord and Savior Jesus for His Church is close, but I’m so tired. I don’t feel like waiting. I won’t commit suicide, but today I’m walking on the edge.
I told my oldest son I was going to walk deep in the woods one last time. He saw in my eyes what I was thinking and said, “Dad, you might not come back.”
I replied, “Would that be such a bad thing?” He came by when I left the house yesterday and gave me a hug and told me he loved me. He’s a good son. All of our kids had some rough times, some moments when it wasn’t clear if they were going to turn away from righteousness. But thank the good God, they all returned to faith in Jesus before Laura died.
So my son said goodbye and watched as I drove away. I don’t know whether I’ll make it back or not. My obligations to this life have been met. Our children and I helped each other through the loss of mother and wife, and they’re as right as they’ll ever be until we all stand in Glory with our King. So whatever comes, I’m ready.
I think I’m almost at the place. If it hasn’t dried up, there’s a little pond in a meadow just over the ridge. I’m badly out of breath. I need to stop and rest, but not till I top the ridge …
There was such a profusion of beautiful flowers! I told Laura her eyes were more beautiful than any of the flowers. Her smile, so sweet … I would swear I can hear her laughter now … we ate and watched the sun go down and the stars come out and made love on the sweet-smelling meadow grass. I saw a slight movement on the edge of my vision and saw a fox staring with wide eyes in the campfire light. Laura and I almost choked on our laughter and the fox took off running! Laura, my love, my only one … I wish, I wish …
I was right. There’s the pond. It’s still there. It looks exactly the same! But I guess any meadow at this altitude would look the same. My heart is really pounding. I think I pushed too hard. Should have taken two days to get here.
What … there’s a campfire! Ahhh, no! Can’t I even have privacy here … my chest is exploding! I think … who … is … that …
LAURA! It can’t be! It can’t be! Laura? It’s really you? But … you’re young again!
So are you, my beloved husband! I knew you’d come to me here!
But if you’re – if I’m … I’m still in my body!
In your new body, my love! Look behind you!
That’s … that’s me! I have to –
– Don’t! No, my love! The time for that body is past! Come with me! There are others waiting to greet you!
Mom and Dad. Yours and mine both! And your brother who was MIA in Vietnam. He wasn’t missing here. And those of the rest of the family who trusted Jesus.
Uncle Ned! My Uncle Ned! Is he…
No. He chose to turn away.
Oh no. Oh no….
My love, will you come with me to be reunited with those who clung to Jesus?
… yes … Yes! Of course! “Let the dead bury the dead”. Goodbye, Uncle Ned. I wish you had listened to us, but that was a choice only you could make.
Laura, what’s that brightness beyond the other ridge? It’s too bright for the sun!
That is the arrival of the One Who died for you and me! He’s here too!
Laura, before we leave this blessed meadow and join them – give me a kiss, my love!