In order to illustrate the statement I made in the headline, I decided to start with my testimony of how I met a man spiritually whom I never met personally before. Here is My Story #1.
His name was Johann Koller. He was an Austrian prelate in Vienna, appointed by John Paul II, who served in the Roman Catholic Church as a priest until his dying day on April 28 in 2010 at 12.55 pm. Let me tell you why I remember his time of death so precisely.
At that time I had never come to know anybody personally who knew Christ’s loving embraces (‘agape’ love) from their own experience. Not one, indeed. One day as I was writing down my spiritual experiences with God – which finally resulted in a fat book the RCC here in the archdiocese Bamberg in Bavaria didn’t want to publish – I randomly banged into an Austrian website.
There, Johann Koller, honestly and humbly, had written about his painful experiences during “the dark night of the soul” (cf. John of the Cross). Reading his testimony, my heart was set on fire since those anointed books from John of the Cross had been my only help since the year 2000 when God had plunged me into a deep ocean of darkness combined with painful suffering and mourning while simultaneously pouring His heavenly, blissful light into my soul.
I remember sitting in front of the computer weeping, and weeping, and weeping…
Yet I was so happy having found his testimony that I wrote an email to him. Later I saw that my email had been read (by anyone) and because I had not asked for a response, I was quite content about the way things were. And indeed, soon afterwards I found out that Johann Koller had been ill and therefore in hospital. Thus I thought, “No wonder that he couldn’t reply to me.”
However, only a few days later when I was on my usual prayer walk through the woods, something really strange happened to me. I recall having felt a certain kind of bliss which had been unknown to me before, whenever I was walking through that forest after having sent my email to Johann.
It was Wednesday, the 28th of April in 2010, only a few minutes before 1:00 pm. I was happily walking and talking with God, as I suddenly felt nudged to pray for Johann. Since I knew that he was sick, I would try to pray for healing. But God’s Spirit gently hindered me to do so. I remember having prayed without words, then, as unexpectedly recurring overwhelming waves of bliss were drowning my senses. Honestly, I was almost carried off my feet then!! And to my utter astonishment – at that very moment – I felt Johann’s presence as near as Christ’s and our Father’s (cf. 1 John 1:3).
Consulting my watch, it was exactly 12:55 pm.
This is the fellowship of the saints in His Sprit, my friends, my brothers and my sisters. There is an invisible cloud of witnesses around us who join us in our suffering and rejoice in our victories (as to resisting the devil). These saints, ALL of them, support us in a way I could not have imagined before that very date – but now I know…
My Story #2 is much more personal since it refers to my son David whom God took before he could live a life on earth together with his parents. Actually, in 2009 my hubby Paul and I lost our only son through a miscarriage. Although I had been struggling with this for awhile, it was deeply comforting for me to know that Jesus said,
“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 19:14 ESV)
To me, this is not “dead Scripture”, since soon after the death of our own son, as I was praying late at night, the Lord suddenly “arose” in my mind (spirit) and showed me our dear little son whom Jesus caressed sooo much, that the baby chortled and dissolved into giggles [Note: Living in the Spirit that indwells us enables us to see and enter the kingdom of heaven, cf. Jn 3:3-5]. I felt the same (agape) love for David at that very moment as I had felt for Johann Koller through Christ’s mediation. Truly, it was extremely comforting to see that life in Christ indeed IS eternal.
Regarding this very issue of babies dying before having been able to live on their own, I recall it was John Wycliffe who comforted a desperate woman who had thought that her baby that had not been baptized would be in hell (Sheol/Hades) after death. The simple answer Wycliffe gave her was that he pointed to King David who, after the death of his first son with Bathsheba said,
“But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Sm 12:23)
I SHALL GO TO HIM, but he will not return to me. Aha!! Was his son baptized? Certainly not. Since King David, like all other male figures of the OT, was a type of Christ, one might think of God’s promise after reconciling the world to Himself through the death and resurrection of His only Son, to save EVERYONE who would call on His name. For it is written,
“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.” (Joel 2:32 ESV)
It has begun with Pentecost (Acts 2:17) and the Lord won’t stop saving [I repeat it 😉 ] EVERYONE who calls on His name until the universe is done…