Saturday, January 28, 2012

Going Home

I woke with a start. Something was out of the norm. I remembered going to sleep in the hospital. I had been looking forward to going home to see my wonderful wife of 47 years the next day at home. Something however was different this time. I was in a place I had not been before. I should have been worried but I was not in the slightest. I felt strangely at ease. I felt loved more than I ever had before. It surrounded me from all sides. I stood and looked around. I was covered by a thick mist yet through the mist was a bright light. Next to my feet were blue and white balloons. It was as if someone had been celebrating. The light was the brightest I had ever seen. Like a moth to a light I started to inch forward. Slowly at first wondering if my legs could handle it. It was then that I realized there was no pain. I stopped. I lifted one problem....I lifted the also worked. Better than it had in years. I jumped. What an experience. I began to run delighted by the new found freedom my legs now had. The wind blew in my face, the bright light got closer. I could hear a sound. It was getting louder. I began to recognize it as people. It must have been a massive crowd to make that noise. I started to see the people all around me. They were clapping and cheering for me. They were shouting my name, whistling and clapping me to carry on. I saw a face I recognized. It was my mom and there was my dad. I had missed them so much. I could see some of my primary school teachers, my friends and family who had gone before me. Tears of joy streamed down my face. I wanted to stop running and talk to them. To see what they had been doing. To find out more about this place, but something kept pushed me on. The crowd grew larger. The people were now joined by angels, thousands of them. It was absolutely amazing. I had never seen angels like this. Some were huge and built like body builders with swords strapped to their sides. The light got brighter, my joy and excitement grew stronger as I continued to run. I could hear the faint sound of bagpipes. I recognized the tune of ‘Amazing Grace’, it was one of my favorites. I saw someone in the light running towards me. As he got closer I knew it was him. It was my God and King. I stopped to kneel but before I could kneel he gave me a bear hug and whispered in my ear. Well done Neville, my good and faithful servant. You have finished the race. I took a deep breath and realized I could smell someone braaing and I knew that I was now truly home.

Dedicated to Neville Heron Laing.30th May 1940 - 23rd January 2012

Philippians 1:21 For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My prized possession and it’s free.

I was 12 and very alone. No one was with me. My world had been turned upside down in a few seconds. I was freezing cold from the icy wind that blew over the water. It was pitch dark sitting on the roof. Where I used to see lights from the surrounding houses I now saw none. In the dark I could see the shapes of some of the structures still standing. Most had been washed away by the force of the water that had come pummelling through with no mercy or warning. I had been one of the lucky ones. My bedroom was on the second floor when it all started. I had heard the sound of trees crashing and water roaring from my room. When I got to the bedroom window I saw a glimpse of my Dad as he was swept away by the raging waters that had caught him unawares with the sudden surge as he was cutting the lawn. I could only assume something similar had happened to my Mom and sister.

At first I had panicked. I had screamed for help. None had arrived. I had sat and watched the water rising for hours. I had seen many things float by. Cars, houses, boats, cows, horses and yes…..what bothered me was the amount of people that had gone by. I knew they were dead. It scared me. I thought the police would rescue me, until I saw what must have been one wash past. I realised that I was only going to survive if I did it myself.

I watched the water rise and realised I needed to get to higher ground. I needed a ladder so I could get on the roof and knew there was no way I was going to get one here. I ran to my parent’s room and tried to drag a cabinet into the passage way so I could get to the roof hatch. It was too heavy. I was starting to panic. Water was coming in the doors leading downstairs. I heard my bedroom window glass smash and knew something floating past had hit the window. I needed a plan fast. I grabbed the draws on the cabinet and threw them out one by one. I knew there was no way I would get in trouble for this. Once they were all out I pushed the cabinet and it began to move. Inch by inch I moved the cabinet to the middle of the passage way. I climbed up on the cabinet with water sloshing around my feet. I pushed open the roof entrance and was about to climb up when I remembered I needed stuff to survive.

I jumped down and sloshed to my room. It was difficult to move through the water. There were lots of things in my way. Once in my room I pushed open the cupboard as best I could while the water rushed in. I reached up and grabbed a dry blanket and a torch. As I turned to leave the room I stopped. I was sure I left something important behind. Then I saw it on the bookshelf, My bible that my dad had given me in third grade. I dashed over as fast as I could and grabbed it. Carrying the blanket, torch and bible I struggled to climb the cabinet. I pushed the Blanket into the opening in the ceiling and hoisted myself up. I turned the torch round and bashed on the roof tiles. As they gave way daylight streamed in. I made a hole big enough for myself and climbed up onto the roof. My parents would never have allowed me to be up here. I knew that this time it would not be an issue. I was safe for now although I did not know how long. I was alone.

In the darkness I cried. I looked at my bible and wondered if God did love me, if he really did care. I wondered if he would leave me on a rooftop to die. I prayed, Lord Jesus, I have always known that you are there. Please don’t leave me alone now. Send me a fiery chariot to save me from these waters. As I finished praying a bright light shone down on me from above. At first I thought it was from heaven I then realised God had sent me a helicopter with a really bright light. I guess a fiery chariot would have been overkill. A rope landed next to me with a face on the end. It was a man named John, He was really nice and let me get my bible before pulling me up to my chariot. I knew God had a plan. I knew things would be tough moving forward, but I knew I was not alone. God was going to be with me, I would fear no evil, his rod and staff were with me.

What would you take if you had a flooded house? What do you prize more than God? Would you save yourself before others or would you climb over them to save yourself first? We need to have the faith of a child. We need to know God is there waiting for us to talk to him. He has our best interest in mind even though we might not think so.