We received news that one of our former members in the Waynesburg church had been diagnosed with stage four cancer. To us, she was still the young woman we knew years ago. It’s funny how you still think of everyone as you left them. This woman is a fighter, tough farm girl, raised several raw bone boys, and never takes an answer without making sure it is the truth. This was a shock to her and to us when we heard of it. There was no warning other than late in the timing. She thought it was a simple infection easily handled with medication. Not so.
We made the trip to see her and pray with her. She had been hospitalized for a week or so and it had been rough. She was given a short time to live by the doctors. Another shock.
So, we made the trip, arrived at her home. She had been sent home. Nothing more could they do at that point. We entered expecting a fairly gloomy situation. We wanted to love on her, encourage her, and pray. We had no idea how her stamina would be or her emotional state. Her husband said she would be right out to the living room. She had gone to make herself a little presentable to visitors.
When she entered the living room, she came straight to Cathy and hugged her, embracing for minutes while she kept saying how good it was for us to come. She spoke of us as her second parents and recalled how good it was for her faith.
As she sat down and I sat close to her, she began to speak of her encounters with Jesus and her near death experience. She had been clinically dead at one point. Her faith was extraordinary. She had been to the gates of heaven and back. She described it as being born again, again. This time the new birth was literally being taken to the edge of heaven and getting a glimpse and exposure that rocked her world in the most amazing way. She saw her father who had passed a few years ago. He waved to her, but motioned for her to go back. She saw into the future and saw people she knew. She described her condition in this journey as being in a womb of sorts. She was not in either realm. She saw heaven but not allowed to enter and she was gone from this world. She was suspended between the two.
I sat and listened to someone who had experienced the Lord and saw into heaven. Her faith was zooming. Her confidence in the Lord was so strong that it ministered to me. We came to encourage her and we were the ones being encouraged. I could feel her faith; it was palpable.
Of course we prayed for her, but I asked her to pray for us. Probably, many people would have no clue how to respond to this amazing experience, but I encouraged her. Near death experiences are hard to explain and the one who has had the moment has a hard time describing all that was seen and felt. I told her it was real and similar to other accounts of those who had near death experiences or out of body experiences.
But for me, it was such an encouragement of things to come, things that are. Our faith is not in vain. Who knows where this will lead. Will she be healed? Will she go on to the Lord? She is a fighter and will strive for life and healing, but one thing is for sure…”oh death where is your sting? And oh grave where is your victory” The fear of death has been obliterated and life is there either way for her. To God be the Glory!