Today a friend will be burying her mother. This is the second funeral I have not been able to attend in less than a month. My grandmother used to quip that ‘death comes in threes’. I do hope that there will not be another one soon.
These deaths have caused me to reflect very deeply on my experience during the time of my grandmother’s burial.
From the age of 10 I started having strange dreams that I learned indicated that someone was going to die. I did not know the details – neither gender or age. I only knew it was a very close family friend or relative that would die soon. There was one time when I knew who would die. I did not know it from the dream. When I woke I heard a voice informing me about who died and what would transpired in the next 2 minutes. I was told that the brother of my Aunt had died. She would come into the room to tell me and I was to allow her to speak. Everything transpired exactly as I was told.
When it happened, I was shocked. I did not understand what to make of everything. I also did not know which voice spoke to me. For a very long time, I did not share the dreams or my premonition with anyone.
As I got older and understood the dreams better, I began sharing them with my mother. They were the only dreams that I paid attention to. I never understood that they were prophetic visions. I never knew anything about the gifts of the Holy Spirit or that God communicated to us through dreams or visions (Job 33:15-18).
In time, I learnt that they came from God. I was unsure why He would show me these impending deaths. I left church in my mid-twenties. For more than a decade there was no relationship with Him. Still He kept showing me these visions. It puzzled me but I was afraid to ask.
In March 2011 every night for an entire week I dreamt about people coming to visit my grandmother. They were odd. Their clothes were from the early 1900s or late 1800. They were in perfect condition. Oddly the persons looked youthful. I was perplexed. Instinctively, I knew they lived decades or at least a century ago. However, they radiated with the vitality of persons in the prime of their youth and looked about 30 years old. They were all very pleasant.
Every night I dreamt that different persons came to visit. They were all very happy to see her. I stood outside my mother’s house, in the country as they poured in. Laughter ran out as they greeted my grandmother.
Each morning I woke knowing that my grandmother would soon die. I was secretly glad that she would go while she was still healthy. She was getting frail at 93 years old. Her senses were intact but her strength was failing her.
In mid June 2011, I got news that she was now bedridden. A deep sense of dread seized me. She was about to die. I was saddened that I had not gotten the opportunity to do far more for her than I wanted.
After work that Friday I went to church, for the first time in months. The youth were having a night of praise, featuring various choirs. For a few minutes I was lost. I was frozen by the news of my grandmothers illness and what I felt was about to transpire. Eventually I started worshipping, and got lost in it. While I worshipped the Lord started speaking to me.
This was my second encounter. The other time was while I slept. Instinctively, I recognized the voice. He reminded me that He told me that He would take her earlier in the year through visions. He then replayed the visions in very swift succession before my eyes.
Before He finished speaking He advised me of the day on which she would die. I also knew the time period in which it would occur. On that day she died peacefully, just as He specified. I was deeply saddened.
I decided to honor her legacy by recommitting my life to the Lord.
When the funeral arrangements were made I was asked to sing. I searched through my collections for a sad song that would express our grief. As I listened to the various songs, the Lord spoke to me.
“Rejoice!” He said.
“Why”, I asked the Lord. “I am saddened that my grandmother has died, Lord.”
“Rejoice because she is with me. Her life is far better than any she or anyone will every encounter on earth. Why do you cry? Why does anyone cry when a righteous person dies. It ought not to be so for Christians. They should rejoice. Being with me is far better than any other experience they will ever have.”
I did not know how to respond. I was silent. I do not remember thanking the Lord for the lesson. I do know that I resolved to celebrate her legacy instead of mourning. The Lord was right. Blessed are they that die in the Lord!
Peace flooded my soul. I no longer considered my loss. I was filled with happiness for her. There would be no more pain. No sickness. No sorrow. No hunger. No thirst. No want. She would only experience peace, love, laughter and joy unspeakable in the Presence of her Risen Savior (John 12:26; John 14:2-3; 2 Cor. 5:8; 1 John 3:2).
Philippians 1:23 (NKJV)
23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.