It was Friday, June 11th, 2021 when I received an unexpected call from my 15-year-old daughter.
Jaycie had been at Falls Creek church camp all week with our church youth group, and they were expected home the next day. Her tear-filled and yet excited voice told me something significant had happened.
“Mom, I saw DAD tonight!”
My eyes filled with tears as her incredible account continued:
“And Cheyenne [her childhood friend] saw her *uncle Keith! They were both sitting on the stage during the worship service! Daddy was dangling his legs off the edge of the stage, and had his hands up, doing his ‘happy dance’!” (I could just see Jaycie mimicking her dad’s silly little dance, that he’d demonstrated many times in moments of celebration or victory!) *Keith had died two years before, in his early forties. His parents were my next-door neighbors.
Incredulously, I gasped, “What did Daddy look like?”
“They both had on white robes, and they were barefoot!
And, they were singing the same song that we were all singing!”
I was crying out loud by this moment. As a worship songwriter, I’ve witnessed the power of a song, filled with the Spirit of God, to touch a life, even change circumstances. So, I had to know…
“What song were they singing?”
Jaycie couldn’t remember the title, but she remembered the lyrics that her dad — and over 3,000 students and youth leaders — were singing in worship to God at that moment.
“Death could not hold you...” was all she could remember. I immediately recited the lyrics to the song to her to be sure (one that I know — and love –well!):
“Death could not hold you, the veil tore before You; You silenced the boast of sin and grave;
The Heavens are roaring the praise of Your glory, for You are raised to life again!
What a POWERFUL name it is… the name of Jesus!”
[From the song “What A Beautiful Name”, written by Brooke Fraser Ligertwood, Hillsong Worship]
“YES, Mom, that’s the song!” Jaycie confirmed. And guess what, Mom? Dad looked right at me!
Hank had died very unexpectedly in January 2020, right before Covid-19 hit in Oklahoma. Complications arose from an emergency heart surgery, and he was gone in 10 days. Jaycie was only 13, and we were all shocked and devastated, to say the least. (Hank and I had nine children collectively, including the two youngest, adopted in 2009. We also had seven darling grandchildren at the time.
“Well, what did you do when your daddy looked at you? Did you run down there to see him??”
“No, I ran out to the bathroom, because I was crying so badly, I didn’t want people staring at me!” (That matters when you’re 15, haha!)
I know that the Bible is true. I know that God keeps His promises. And, I knew that Hank was a child of God, and had dedicated his life to the Lord’s service (and had served Him faithfully). So, I knew that Hank was experiencing “eternal life”. Like the Apostle Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians 5:8:
New King James Version
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
New American Standard Bible
but we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
I found a wonderful commentary and explanation of this verse HERE. (And there are many more!)
God’s timing is always perfect! The Holy Spirit already knew that this would be an emotionally painful weekend for our family. We’d been waiting for months for Hank’s headstone to be finished, so it could be set up at his gravesite — which was happening on Sunday afternoon (after Jaycie saw her dad on Friday night).
What a tangible difference and comfort we experienced at the cemetery on Sunday, since God gave us a glimpse of Heaven on Friday night!
God is so faithful, and He is our Comforter! From silly pet antics to grandbaby snuggles, true friends and family togetherness, we’ve been comforted over and over, and often in the most creative ways!
But for the Lord to literally open the curtains of Heaven to my little girl that night — WOW! To KNOW that what we’ve read in the Bible, what we’ve believed, what we’ve prayed for — and what we look forward to is REAL — that changes everything!
I just returned from an 11-day concert and speaking tour / mission trip to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York in October 2022. I was privileged to share this testimony with many audiences and individuals, there and once I returned home. I’ve also heard other people’s accounts of similar experiences. It’s like the scripture describes so many places, but I specifically think of this passage in 1st Corinthians 2:9-10:
9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
So, according to the Word of God, the Holy Spirit reveals certain things to His children that would otherwise not be known –at least, not known by “experience”, but only by faith — which is enough — but what a treasure to occasionally get to see those realities!
What about you? Do you have that assurance of eternal life through a relationship with Jesus? If you’re not sure, or if you’d like to learn more, here’s a great place to start: https://peacewithgod.net/ (From Billy Graham’s ministry website)
I just moved to a new house a few months ago, and built a recording studio in it. I have more music to write and record, books to write (and finish writing!), a child still at home (Jaycie is now 16), precious grandchildren to love (I now have 10!), and so much life to still live. But if God’s Word weren’t reliable, it would all be for nothing.
THANKS BE TO GOD, His Word IS true. He keeps His promises! Therefore, I have hope and purpose for this life, and the next.
Got a story to share? Love to read your comments.
Becky Wright is a Staff Missionary and Ministry Department of Artists in Christian Testimony, International, a 501(c)(3) Non-profit with home offices in Brentwood, TN. Becky lives in Oklahoma with her youngest child, two doggies and three spoiled cats. Wright Ministries is sharing God’s love around the world through blogs, conferences, music (live at concerts & churches, and on radio), bible studies, and international missions, including being the sole support for The Children’s Ark Orphanage in India. Your donations are acutely needed and deeply appreciated! JOIN US in changing the world! DONATE HERE.
Right: James Merchant, Becky’s nephew, helping set up her new home recording studio. (This was on Nov. 13th — what would have been Becky’s sister Elizabeth – James’ mom’s birthday. Liz died in 2004.)
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