Posted by: Michelle Knoll | July 25, 2009

Once Upon A Time… A Story

Around twenty years ago, I heard the following story.  I remember at that time the story thrilled me and stirred great hope in my heart, but also stirred my imagination.

What is Heaven going to be like? Has anyone really visited there?  Or have people only had really vivid dreams of the place?  I know there have been books on the store shelves recently that talk of trips made to Heaven.  I don’t judge either way.  Maybe some people have actually had the chance, through near death experiences, to see into the spiritual realm.  I think it’s entirely possible that God would give someone a chance to do that.

So read the following story, and let your imagination soar.  Imagination is a good thing!  And may this inspire you to think more about our “heavenly home.”

A Glimpse of Heaven

There were a lot of women at the conference that year.  So many women had preregistered for this conference, the directors decided to move it to a bigger meeting facility.  So there we were, on Friday night, excited to be participating in a much larger worship experience than what we had anticipated.

The music swelled and the voices rose in praise to God.  I joined in singing the first worship chorus, but I had a hard time concentrating on the words to the song.  The Presence of God was so strong in that auditorium, the air felt electric.  Finally, I stopped singing and stood completely still as I focused all my mind and heart on the Lord.

It seemed like I stood there for quite some time.  However, in reality, it was probably only a minute or two.  The worship was so intense and the Presence of the Lord was so strong, it seemed as if I could almost reach out and touch Him in some way.  Like I could almost… touch… His face…

And suddenly… there He was.

He was SO close that I really could have touched His face.  If I could have moved, that is.

But I was frozen, in fear.  To be standing in the presence of the Holy Lord of lords… and to know that He was looking… straight at me…

As I looked into His eyes, I sensed that He was looking all the way through me, and was seeing every single part of me.  The realization came over me that I was fully — FULLY — known.  Every thought, word, deed, opinion, desire… all… was known.  And yet, I didn’t feel condemned or rejected.  For all I saw in His eyes was Love.  Pure Love. 

The love I felt from Him caused my heart to swell with love in return, yet the holy, reverent fear I felt kept me from reaching out to embrace Him.  So there I stood, gazing into the eyes of One that knows me so well.

Suddenly He was behind me, and in front of me was a window that looked like a church window.  It had a dark wooden frame, with three or four rows of two glass panes each, and was tapered to a point on top.  As I studied the window, which appeared to have dark colored glass, I suddenly noticed something else to the right of the window, and higher up.  It was of the same shape as the window, but much wider.  I realized it was an open archway, and not a window.  It was made of a light-colored material, like granite or marble.  Where the window looked dark, this archway was not.  There was light on the other side.  By “light” I do not mean there was a light shining from the other side; on the contrary, it was as if light itself was on the other side of that opening.

“Would you like to take a look?” He whispered in my ear.

Before I could even finish thinking the word, “Yes!” He lifted me up, and set me onto the ledge of the archway.  As I took one step into the whiteness on the other side of the opening, I was suddenly moving at a very rapid rate.  I wasn’t running, and I wasn’t being carried by anything I could see, but I was moving very fast.  I was amazed at what was happening.

When I stopped at the other end of this rapid movement, I stepped onto the greenest grass I have ever seen.  We think we know what “green” looks like here on earth. Well, we don’t.  I had never seen anything like it.  Staring down at my feet, I thought that the grass almost looked… radiant.  As if it had a light all its own.

He watched as I gazed at the grass beneath my feet, and then said, “Come! I want to show you something!”  He took my hand and, sensing the eagerness in His voice, I followed willingly.

The scenes of all I saw went by so fast, it was almost a blur.  I saw houses of all different shapes and sizes, along both sides of the streets that we walked.  And there were big, beautiful shade trees all along the streets.  I was amazed at the beauty of it all. 

But the thing that I remember the most was the river, or more specifically, the water.

He watched as I cupped my hands and held some of the water.  It sparkled in so many different ways.  First it was clear, then it looked like silver, then like blue crystal, then like glass, then as pure white… so amazing, and so fascinating! I gazed in wonder as it sparkled in my hands.  It was beautiful.  Well, every single thing there was beautiful.  The trees, the river, the water, the grass, the buildings, the people…

Yes, there were people, but for some reason, He did not introduce me to anyone, and no one interrupted us.  It was as if this time was to be spent between Him and me alone.  And I could tell He was so excited to show me these things, and to spend this time with me. 

We sing the song, “Jesus Loves Me,” yet I honestly don’t think we truly understand just how much Jesus loves us, and just how much He wants to spend time with us.  His love for us is immeasurable.

As we walked on, we came to a place with wide steps that led up to a landing.  He ran up the steps ahead of me, stopped on the landing, and then said excitedly, “Come! I want you to see this!”  I started toward Him, but suddenly found that I could not reach Him.  Try as I might, I could not move.  He was calling my name, and saying, “Come here! I want to show you this!” but I could not get to Him.  And suddenly, all around me began to fade.

As I opened my eyes, I realized that worship had finished, and I was the only one standing.  The woman to my left had been tugging on my shirt, trying to get me to sit down.  Shaken by what had just taken place, I slowly sat down.  I knew I had seen Jesus, and had been with Him, and had seen a glimpse of Heaven, and I was just… stunned.  I sat back slowly, trying to take it all in.

As I looked at the woman to my right, a dear sister much older than me, I tried to find words to explain what had just happened, but there were no words adequate enough.  So I just stared at her, mouth hanging open, hoping she would rescue me from my stunned silence.

She just looked back at me, then smiled and said softly, “I know where YOU’VE been!”

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