I realize that the promise I made in my last post to share my experience was not done "soon", for which I apologize. I ran into the brick wall of resistance--make that RESISTANCE. The battle is over, however, and here I am.
After I read Heaven is for Real and realized how encouraging and way off the typical human experience scale the story is, I wanted to share my own atypical story.
Why? Because God doesn't always fit in our ridiculously small box. We can't pronounce that we've got him figured out. There are plenty of mysteries left because we're not as smart as we think we are, and here in the physical realm we see spiritual things dimly.
In 2005, I moved to Atlanta to start a new life after surviving a string of losses: Divorce, the house was sold, empty nest, to name a few. I was shell-shocked, but God was good and provided beyond my dare-to-dream plans. Still, there were challenges that come naturally with moving to a city where you don't know a single person and start your life over. It was lonely at times.
After one typical, nothing out of the ordinary day, I dropped into bed for a good night's sleep. I don't think I stayed home that night, however. I had a dream--no, an experience, really--that was absolutely stunning.
I knew I had fallen asleep, but suddenly, I found myself in a very different place, surrounded by brilliant, nearly blinding golden light. I remember squinting to see if I could make out any objects or people. I couldn't see clearly but I knew I wasn't alone. I was familiar with feeling alone and this was the polar opposite.
My attention was diverted by the sounds I began hearing. They were so incredibly beautiful and soothing. It was music, but not from any instrument, and there was singing, but there were no words. It was music I had never heard before--the voices were the instruments, I think. No accompaniment necessary.
The feeling was indescribable. Love, warmth, fellowship, and incredible, unstoppable urge to worship God. JOY flooded my being and spilled out like a dam had burst inside my soul. All I saw was brilliant light, but I felt others all around me in the same state of utter joy and lightness--all praising the Creator of the Universe.
I remember thinking, This is almost too much to bear.
I woke up, eyelids popped open and breathing as though a syringe full of epinephrine had been shot into my veins. I couldn't do anything but lie there awestruck for a few minutes.
Was that a dream? No way. I couldn't have thought that up in my wildest imagination.
That was an EVENT, and one I will never, ever forget. It was an incredible gift. Whenever life seemed overwhelming. I always remembered my glimpse of heaven, and was reminded not only that I was not alone, but that the suffering we endure in this physical realm is temporary. What a future we have to look forward to!
Later that year, I would realize how God had not only meant that for my present encouragement, but to prepare me for what was going to be one of the challenges of my life.
That's another post for another time. Right now, to sleep--perchance, to dream.