Saturday, March 14, 2009

Oh that will be glory for me

Someone sent me the testimony of a man who claimed to have been in hell. It was not, he said, a dream or a vision, but an out-of-the-body experience, because he saw his body lying on the floor as he came back from the place where he had been.

His wife found him lying in the living room, holding his head and screaming. She said it took her 10 to 20 minutes to quieten him. He said it took him a year to get over the experience.

In his testimony, he described the things he had experienced in that place: the physical agony, the incredible heat, the smell, the darkness, the flames, the screams. He quoted Scripture after Scripture after Scripture to confirm the things he saw. He was a committed Christian, but he said that all knowledge of God's salvation was taken from him during the time that he was there. He believed there was no way out, and that he was there for ever.

After a time, he said, Jesus came to bring him out of that place. "Lord, why did You send me to this place?" he said. "Because people do not believe that this place exists. Even some of My own people do not believe this place is real. Go and tell them," Jesus said.

I was interested that the man said he had seen the Lord. But all he was able to see, he said, was the outline of a man, filled with brilliant light.

A short while later, a friend lent me a book called Journal of the Unknown Prophet.[1] It was prophecy, from start to finish. The part that particularly interested me was a vision at the back of the book described by the woman who had put the book together, a vision that has yet to be fulfilled.

In the vision there were millions of people from every tribe and nation, all of them dressed in white. In the distance was the Father, clothed in flaming light.

Then Jesus came. He greeted each one there, and called him "good and faithful servant." With some He wept; with some He laughed. Some He would take in His arms. With others He would hold their hands. With each one He would look deep into their eyes. You could imagine a face filled with indescribable love. Although there were millions there, the author said, it was as though it was just Him and you.

I long to see the Lord. It may not be in this life, but that doesn't matter. My deepest longing is to see His face.

There is a chorus we used to sing years ago:

It will be worth it all
When we see Jesus;
Life's trials will seem so small
When we see Christ.
One glimpse of His dear face
All sorrow will erase;
It will be worth it all
When we see Christ.

For the Christian, the one who has experienced forgiveness in Christ, death holds no terrors. When my time comes, I will be going home. It will be home not just because of the place it is, but because He lives there.

[1] Journal of the Unknown Prophet. Copyright Wendy Alec. Chichester: New Wine Press, 2002.