Story from Easter 1999
Psalm 19 from Tyndale's Living Bible is beautiful reading:
"The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of His craftsmanship. Day and night they keep on telling about God. Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world. The sun lives in the heavens where God placed it and moves out across the skies as radiant as a bridegroom going to his wedding, or as joyous as an athlete looking forward to a race! The sun crosses the heavens from end to end, and nothing can hide from its heat......."
Along these same lines is another favorite verse, Romans 1:20 NIV:
"Since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities--His eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (when they stand before God at Judgement Day)."
God continuously reveals Himself to us. The closer we are to Him, the more of His power and love we see. In February, 1996, I was on my way back to the hospital, having come home to shower and change clothes. The doctor informed me that Jack could live only 2-3 days. I turned on the radio to KQUE, always beautiful listening music. Someone was singing, "What'll I do, when you, are far away; and I am blue?...what'll I do with just your photo-graph to tell my troubles to?...What'll I do with dreams of you that won't come true?..." There were tears. "No," I told myself. "I mustn't think about life without Jack...not yet." The music on the radio went immediately into the next song: "It's alright! Live and let live... It's alright...Even if the sun don't shine, it's not the end of the line." I smiled and whispered a "Thank You, God." Why were those two songs selected for playing together at that exact time--for me--if God hadn't arranged it? I clung to "It's alright", because God will see me through whatever is ahead."
My dear friend, Rosetta Vinson, was driving to see her daughter, who was near death and being attended to by hospice. She was listening to music on a cassette, "On the Wings of a Dove," a comforting song for Rosetta, even though tears were spilling across her face. Suddenly, a flock of white doves flew across the roadway in front of her car. Rosetta felt the warmth of God's love like a blanket around her shoulders as He spoke through her thoughts, "I'll take care of her." Two days later, when her daughter died, Rosetta was comforted knowing she was with God. Recalling the symbol of God through the doves, Rosetta knew that God would take care of her, also.
Everyone should be blessed with a friend like Edie Kunzman. She and her husband, Ed (Edward) owned a flower shop in Tyler, Texas. We met when Jack and I would go to the Tyler Jr. College football games in the 50's. We'd spend the night in their beautiful home. Edie is the most wonderful cook and gracious hostess in the whole world. There was always lots of good food, especially desserts.
Gorgeous beds of flowers bloomed in her yard, and fragrant bouquets gathered inside. Ed was ill most of 1997. On August 1st, Edie sold the flower shop so she could care for him. His greatest concern was for "Charro," his black pet Chihuahua, 18 years old, blind, deaf, ill beyond help. Charro would cough, and Ed would hold her in his lap, petting her until she'd fall asleep. When Ed died on August 17, 1998 (age 83), Edie took Charro to the veterinarian to be put to sleep; then placed the beloved pet in the coffin with Ed. They were cremated together. The next morning, Edie was sitting on the back porch, writing letters. She glanced around the yard. The day lilies were burned up in the July-August heat, and had not bloomed for six weeks. But there were two brilliant orange lilies in full bloom beneath an oak tree. Edie told me, "It was a sign from God of life after death--of Ed and Charro." Further in our conversation, one month after Ed's death, Edie said, "I am so lost without Ed. I asked God, 'What now? Why am I alive? What will I do with the rest of my life?' The answer came to me one night when I was reading my Bible: Clearly, 'To glorify God.'"
Asa Gilbert Eddy was the husband of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science. When Asa died, the maid called to Mary, "Come quickly. Come and see!" She led Mrs. Eddy to the yard where a snow white lily was in full bloom...this Resurrection Lily plant had not bloomed in 20 years. Mary was comforted by this sign from God that Asa was with Him in heaven.
My mother died Dec. 2, 1975 (age 78). Two months later, my dad and I were walking around their yard. We came upon seven clumps of blue flowers. We had never seen them before. I said to Dad, "It's like a bouquet from Mother. All her life she planted beds of flowers around the house and yard." I took one of the plants, which has now multiplied and spread intermittently over the field beside my house. Every spring, I gather blue blossoms in a vase for my breakfast table, a symbol of my mother's love. "Thank you, Lord."
My niece, Cheryl Lynn McClosky, told me it had been raining for 18 days when her mother died. It rained during the funeral. As they entered the cemetery, the rain stopped. When they got in their cars to leave, it began raining again. Yes! God stopped the rain to show His love and caring.
Jack's father died on Jan. 27, 1957 at age 63. Jack and I stood at his gravesite. There was a hush over the grounds, and a stillness, all day, that dared even the tiniest leaf to move. After the Bugler sounded "Taps," I stood there with mixed feelings of reverence, fear and wonder...desperate wonder: "Did Johnny make it? Did he get to Heaven? Dear God, I hope he was saved." Immediately the trees began to shake and tremble. There was a rustling of leaves, some falling to the ground, joining in a scurrying tumble with those that fell days before. The awning over the gravesite snapped with a loud "POP" in the whirlwind. Then, stillness again. The moment I asked God if Johnnie made it to Heaven, He spoke to me out of the whirlwind, just as He spoke to Job! I knew I'd see Johnnie again at the Resurrection. All the rest of that day, I kept watching the trees and shrubs; there wasn't a breeze of any kind, not even the slightest wind anywhere.
Digging in the dirt, planting flowers and bulbs, pulling weeds: these are stress relievers which Dolores and I have enjoyed most of our lives. Jack and I met her and James in the 70's when we changed churches. They had two daughters, the eldest, Pamela was born after ten years of marriage! When Pamela was 26, she was driving the car with her sister beside her. In the back were her 10-month-old daughter and son, age 2 and her sister's 3-year old. Pamela's husband, a security guard at Randall's, kept his gun under the front seat of the car. With stopping and starting, it had worked its way to the back. The children began playing with it. The gun went off, and Pamela was killed. Twelve life supports and 40 pints of blood could not save her. The hardest prayer Dolores ever prayed was "Thy will be done." One day she sat beside a flower bed and began turning over the dirt with a gardening tool. She began crying. Digging in the dirt was like digging Pamela's grave. Must she give up her favorite hobby, working with flowers? Just then, she saw Pamela walking toward her, stopping to stand beside her in the flower bed. It was frightening; then wonderful. Pamela's beautiful long hair was softly blowing in the breeze. In seconds, she was gone. Comforting thoughts filled Delores's mind: Pamela's o.k. I can work in the flower beds.
72,000 angels hung around the cross to help Jesus. He said "No...Not until it is finished." He became like us, so we could become like Him. He loves each one of us like there was only one of us. When He hung on the cross, I was on His mind. He wanted me. Just like my mother wanted me in spite of the pain of childbirth before I could become hers. I loved her, and would never do anything to cause her pain, shame or disgrace. Tears fill my eyes each time I think about how much Jesus loves me. I could never do any-thing to add to His pain, to disappoint Him. I pray to be worthy. There's nothing I wouldn't do to prove my appreciation for His gift of eternal life.
> Easter 1999