My husband John was diagnosed with cancer in April 1998. Ten months later, after a painful struggle and many up’s and down’s he passed away at home on February 18th surrounded by his loving family. John was a prominent physician and had a strong conviction in his faith. From the time he was diagnosed until he died, he never questioned his faith, but embraced it and looked forward to his next journey. The morning of John’s death, as he took his last breath, his brother Pat said, “Fall into his arms” as I whispered “I love you.” With that he left this earth. As we waited for the funeral home to pick up his body, we went into the living room and I prayed that God would give us a sign that John was okay. My daughter reached for the spiritual
calendar and changed the date to the 18th. The reading was “I have fought the good fight and I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7) I thanked God for the sign. Later that day, the priest came to our home to plan the readings for the funeral. Of course, the above reading was #1. My stepdaughter asked if she could do the second reading. She chose a passage from the Bible John 14:2. “My father has a place with many rooms, if that were not true, would I have told you that I am preparing a place for you?” After the funeral, at the reception, the priest handed me a small picture frame with the second reading in it. He explained to me that in his haste to come to our home after John died, he forgot to change the date to the 18th on his spiritual calendar and when he returned home and changed the date it read “My father has a house with many rooms. I stood there and wept knowing these readings came to us through God to let us know that John was on to the next journey.
It was my birthday, the first since my father’s death. Two and a half months had passed, yet the pain and shock of his unexpected passing was still very raw. I simply wanted my birthday to pass by, just like any other day. I certainly had no reason to celebrate.
I planned to have a quiet dinner at a local restaurant with my grandmother, boyfriend, and brother. In a long conversation with my brother, I told him there was only one thing I wanted for my birthday. My father had a 16×20 framed print that hung on his bedroom wall. Ever since I was a little girl, I was taken by that picture. It is a famous print called the “Light of the World” that shows Jesus as a young child. My brother told me he would go to my father’s house, get the print from the wall, and bring it with him to the restaurant.
My boyfriend and grandmother met me at the restaurant. We waited for my brother, but he didn’t show. He called to tell us his meeting ran late and he couldn’t make it. He assured me that within the next few days he would bring me the print. I was very disappointed because the picture was all I wanted for my birthday.
After dinner, my boyfriend went his way and I went the opposite direction to bring my grandmother home. While driving her home, my grandmother said, “Oh, Cynthia, I left some things in Peter’s truck for you. I cut some plant shoots for you to root, so don’t forget them. They will freeze if they stay in the truck overnight.”
I dropped my grandmother off and headed back to my boyfriend’s house. After I was there about 20 minutes, I said, “Gog [our name for my grandmother] said she had given you some cuttings from her plants for me to root. Are they still in the truck?” He said, “Oh no, I brought that stuff in for you.”
I started going through the things she had sent me. I put the plant cuttings in vases of water, then returned to look through what else was there. There was a flat, brown paper bag on the bottom of the box. I picked it up, puzzled, thinking, What can this possibly be? As I pulled out the contents, I was speechless and a bit overwhelmed. It was an 8×10 print of “The Light of the World.”
O my God, my father had to be behind this . . . from above. I never discussed the conversation between my brother and I about the print with my grandmother. I called my grandmother immediately. When she answered, I asked, “Gog, why did you send me that picture? And where in the world did you get it?”
My grandmother was a woman of deep faith and was in church every Sunday. She explained “Well, Cynthia, after the church service on Sunday last week, we went to coffee hour. I helped clean the room after most of the folks left. That picture was sitting on the floor next to the trash receptacle. Nobody knew who put it there and nobody wanted it so I took it. On the way home from church, I decided I would give it to you.”
Totally speechless, I knew my father heard my prayers and my desire to have that print for my birthday. From heaven he was creating a divine experience in my life on Earth. It is so much easier to receive when you believe in the power of the spirit.
Cynthia Burke, Author of My Glimpses of Heaven
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