“Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last. My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.” Isaiah 48:12-13
I am not a mystic although at times I long to be. I don’t have visions of the Lord, I don’t dream dreams of the Lord, and I don’t hear his voice. I haven’t even had a dream of Becky since she died. Others have dreamed of her and sensed her presence, but not me. I seem to be firmly rooted in this world even though I have a profound faith in the next.
I’ve told you this because of what I’m going to tell you next. At least at this point in my life it is a once in a lifetime experience that I don’t expect to ever have repeated. On Sunday, July 12, 2009 I was up at 6 a.m. and alone in the den of our home. I wasn’t doing much of anything, just enjoying a quiet cup of coffee to start the day. I was at a place of pretty complete exhaustion. I was less than a month into retirement from a job that I loved, but that had pretty much eaten me up. I was still working at least half time on a call-back basis. At that time I was in a season of pretty significant spiritual drought and doubting
that God existed or cared. Strangely enough I wasn’t considering leaving my faith – I was just in a deep, exhausted dry place.
Recall that I said it was quiet. In a shocking moment that I will remember forever I heard a voice state simply “I am.” I looked back over my shoulder to see who spoke since no one else was even home. The voice was real – a voice that my eardrums responded to, but there was no one there to utter the words. The next moment I felt an utter and profound certainty that the Lord, the great ‘I am’, had spoken. I still have the note in my Bible that says “God said ‘I am’ on Sunday a.m. July 12/09 at about 6 a.m. – I wonder why?” As if in answer to that note, my Bible has this note right below it “on 12/29/10 Becky died.”
The nearly year and a half between the time I heard the voice and the time that Becky died was a time of reaffirming my faith and growing deeper in love with the Lord. Somehow that simple but profound statement of existence was all I needed to kick me into a hunger and thirst to know Jesus more and to love Him better. I shared this experience with both Becky and Jacob when I spent three days with them during the November before Becky died. At one point after Becky died Jacob mentioned that she had been reading her Bible a whole lot more in the weeks before her death. I find myself wondering if the experience God gave me that I then shared with Becky, helped her to have the same yearning for a deeper relationship with Him.
I’m so thankful for this one time gift that helped my heart prepare for the unthinkable. I couldn’t have faced Becky’s death without a solid belief in the goodness and reality of this God who cares enough to say to me “I am”.
“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and
behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Revelation 1:17-18