My dad died in 1998 of cancer. He was given to alcoholism since a young man – so as his children, we were subject to a chaotic alcoholic home. It was soon that he would be leaving us, and close to his death, I asked him if he knew where he was going, to which he responded with venom and fury, ‘I am going in a box and will be shoved into the ground – period!’ I was so startled at this and left so very disappointed. Disappointed in me, for I had planned to tell him about the gift of salvation. It would be a week later where I rustled up some courage to try it again, my knees shaking just as much as my insides. I settled next to his hospital bed and asked him the same question, ‘dad, do you know where you are going when you die?’ He looked at me, with eyes that were not the same as the last time – in fact, eyes that I have never seen, and in a quiet and gentle voice, he said, ‘heaven.’ I knew without a doubt that he had met the Lord and was born again. I found out that a dear pastor who made regular hospital visits, dear Pastor Fox, visited my dad, who delivered the good news to this dying soul. I feared and despised this man all my life, but when I witnessed this moment – my heart leaped with joy. God gave me such a gift that day to which I treasure. Make no mistake, my dad was one whose life made for ‘hell on earth’ for his family– yet in the grace and mercy of God, he entered everlasting life because he believed Jesus. As I pondered this ironic turn of events, I believe God in His good pleasure gave me a vision –
My dad was in his early 30’s. He wore a crisp white shirt, and I marveled at how clean he looked. It was not just an outward clean-ness, but he was all who God had created him to be, which was washed and made whole through the blood of Jesus and completely clean and was certainly in contrast to who I knew him, which was why it was such a stunning sight. I innately understood that he was formally dressed for a purpose – for something he did and tended to regularly. He carried a bouquet of predominately blue flowers – they were so beautiful! And with them, he went to a place that I understood to be only allowed for him, as he opened the door – I was taken aback. It was a garden of flowers that was beyond description and was breathtaking! It was like a memorial but not of sadness and more like a place God gave him for making up for lost time and for healing. The vision was like God pulling back a curtain to let me see the love of God and His good pleasure for those who are His.
It was like my dad was a son, brother, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, coworker and friend while he lived here on earth to which he had left undone. Perhaps this was a place he was allowed to continue the work that he was born to do, and that life does not end when we die, it only begins!
The most of vile sinner, filthy and tormented – in the Lord’s eyes He sees them as they were destined for – clean and forgiven – and what a joy it is when the lost soul sees and receives this when he believes! Only believe and you will be saved!