Each and every person has an effect. We are having an impact on every person around us. What we say and do matters. But is what we are saying and doing having a positive impact for the Kingdom of God or a negative impact? Are we shinning the light of Christ outward on every action? Or are we quenching the light and Spirit inside of us?
I have been reading a book I got as a Christmas present from my son’s girl friend called Imagine Heaven by John Burke. It is all about near-death experiences, God’s promises and the exhilarating future that awaits us. It has a near-death experience in it that brings me to tears each time I read it. The man named Howard Storm was a professor of art at the University of Kentucky and while on tour with some students in Paris he fell seriously ill from an ulcer that perforated his duodenum.
The life expectancy for this is only 5 hours and the hospital he was taken to had only one surgeon on duty. He was to wait it out. In his interview with the author, he basically explained to him that up to this point in his life, he did not believe in God or life after death. He said his goodbyes to his wife, closed his eyes and died.
An Experience of Life after Death
There is life after death but where will that life be and will it be truly life or hell? Howard found himself standing beside his bed and felt more alive then ever. He didn’t realize he was dead at this point. His mind kept going to the fact that he needed the surgery. He heard people calling to him to come so he went to the doorway of his room. In the doorway, he called back to them that he needed the surgery. They told him to come again and hurry and then surrounded him leading him down the hallway that had become a dark gray color.
He became disoriented because the hallway kept getting darker and it seemed like they had been traveling down it a long time but he did see that those around him appeared to be dressed like the hospital staff. This kept him going. However, things turned very, very dark and the “people” around him started to say very unkind things that became worse and worse. Then they began to physically assault him.
The Power of Prayer
He couldn’t go further in his interview because the memories of what happened were too traumatic. He explained that though he was physically in pain all over at a 10, it was the emotional pain that was far worse. Howard was in utter desperation when he said he heard a voice that he says sounded like it came from his chest say, “Pray to God”. He countered this command a few times with excuses but finally in his desperation began to put together a prayer with everything he could remember that he heard about God. This was his prayer:
“Yea, though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. For purple mountain majesty, mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord… One nation under God. God Bless America.”
The amazing thing he witnessed was how the “people” around him responded. They didn’t like it one bit. They screamed at him and so he prayed more with anything with “God” in it. As he continued his broken prayers, the demons backed away and left him alone.
He laid there contemplating his situation and felt completely alone. As he contemplated his life and his devotion to building a monument to his own ego, he began to slip into hopelessness. But as he was slipping further into this hopelessness, a few words from the song he heard in his childhood came to mind. He remembered just three words, “Jesus loves me”. His mind took hold of those three words and fought it briefly but he finally said, “Enough of this! I’m done! I don’t have anything else.” He wanted it to be true and so he took the action needed and yelled out, “Jesus save me”.
The Power of the Name of Jesus
As soon as he said it, a light appeared. It was a tiny speck but soon grew to the point of overcoming him. He saw hands and arms come from that light and embrace him. And with that embrace he was healed physically and emotionally from all that he had had to bare. He continues with his account but I will leave the rest of it for you to explore for yourself in this book.
Am I Effecting Others Positively?
When I read that it was the song he remembered in childhood, I broke into tears. My other calling and way of making a living is as a preschool teacher. I am in my third school year as the lead teacher for the 4-year-olds class. Most of us have heard how teachers don’t get paid enough. We work far more than what we are paid. My husband said to me once, “are you making 2 cents an hour now?” As a new teacher, you put in even more time. Thankfully things have eased up in my third year but I have wondered how much of a positive effect am I having on these kiddos?
Hearing how the three words from a childhood Sunday school song were what saved Howard, was God’s way of showing me that what I am doing is having a positive effect. These preschoolers leave school and may not remember the school, my name or any of the exciting things they experienced but they will remember the name of Jesus and that he loves them.
We will face God one day and have to give an account of all that we have done. Today is the day to see that every word, action, inaction and attitude from the heart will have an effect. Let the light within you out and be the positive effect for the Kingdom of God.