From time-to-time, I have used this forum to share death announcements of ministers (active or retired) and their families. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that I am making another death notice. So here it is….
Last Sunday night, six-days-ago I died, and it couldn’t have been a more welcomed event. Now, before you think I’ve lost my mind, let me explain to you about my death.
For the last ten months I have struggled with multiple problems in churches and faced situations that I simply did not have the answers for, and could not solve. I struggled so desperately with these issues that I found myself drawing inward and dreading the rise of the sun each morning. I went to sleep with these problems on my mind and I woke up with them on my mind. All through the day I thought of nothing else, and that made me unproductive and distracted. You might say there was an internal storm that was raging which didn’t seem to have an end in sight.
All through this time, people would call, text and email me to simply say, “Bishop, I’ve had you on my heart so heavily that I had to stop what I was doing to pray for you.” These encouraging calls and messages didn’t go unnoticed by me or by our Father in Heaven. The writer of Psalms said, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” (34:7) and I can testify to the truth of God’s Word…the angels of the Lord held me up when I couldn’t hold myself up.
When I went to bed last Sunday night these issues were still on my mind. In the moments before I fell asleep I was simply groaning and saying, “Lord help me…Lord help me.”
At 3:00 a.m., I fell into a deep sleep…whether it was a dream or a vision, I died. I could hear people talking all around me, and they were talking about these issues I was struggling with. I recognized the voices of most of the people around me and listened intently to what they were saying. I actually heard a few things that surprised me…not WHAT was said, but WHO said it.
When I realized that I had died, I sat straight up and said, “is that all there is to it?” I suddenly realized what Paul was talking about when he said, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” It wasn’t as big a deal that I always thought it was. It was like falling to sleep and realizing I was still alive, but I suddenly had clarity to the things going on around me. I suddenly understood what needed to be done and how I was to do it.
When this realization came to me I said, “Praise the Lord!” and I have been saying it ever since.
Now fully awake, I felt different. I felt brand new. I felt the load lift and I had a new life.
Later that morning, Debra called me and said, “honey, are you all right?” to which I replied I died. There was a long pause on the phone and joy burst forth in my heart and came out of my mouth. I then explained to her this simple thought:
You can’t hurt a dead man…you can talk about him all you want but it doesn’t affect him. You can kick him and he doesn’t feel it. In other words, IT AIN’T NO BIG DEAL!
Since that moment there has been a freshness to life. One that I don’t ever want to lose.
I feel like the Lord gave me clear direction and gave me a verse for the moment. Let me share it with you:
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
I will hold on to that promise for the rest of my life. God bless you!