William H Hammes
My personal favorite
Everyone has that dreaded year they fear reaching. For most women, it is 30, for Jack Benny it was 40, but for most men it is probably 50 or 55. Not me; the year I dreaded most was 51. That’s how old my dad was when he died of cancer. It was a very hard year for me, I remember waking one morning realizing that I was now out-living my father and I was only 51.
Ever since then I have been very conscious of time and how all of the years are now going by faster and faster. I am also very aware of what I haven’t done. It’s not that I feel I haven’t achieved enough; I have had a fantastic career, a beautiful family and collected some wonderful friends. It’s just that spiritually speaking, I thought I would have accomplished so much more by now especially considering who I have been introduced to or sat under, with the likes of Bud Denner, Ern Baxter, and more recently, John Tolle. Yet with all of this input and even an anointing or two, little has happened with me. Outside of a few spiritual writings that I stick in with my funny Christmas letters, there’s not been much. I get far more responses from the Christmas letters than I do my writings. So at the end of my life I so desperately want to meet Jesus feeling exhausted, not frustrated!
It all came to a head for me this past week; for several months I have had coffee every other Tuesday night with my former pastor. For me, having coffee with John and his connections in the ministry, (the who’s who in Christianity), is like having tea with royalty. (Please note that when he reads this he is going to choke). However, these conversations have been truly blessed at a time when we both needed them. They may even be a little like what’s in Og Mandino’s “ The Ragpicker”, with each of us at times playing the role of Simon Potter. He’s my cheerleader and I am his. After hearing his powerful testimony and feeling a little left out, I went into an open field behind my house to pray among the sage brush and oak trees. I simply said, “Lord, I am now 56, and I have met several wonderful people who have given me great potential, but I have yet to really use any of it.” It was then my thoughts started to form a picture and the picture formed kind of a video. In it I found myself seated in a large green room with hundreds of people, I thought it might be like the waiting room for the Tonight Show. I was seated next to someone who looked East Indian, and it seemed that he was next to go through two huge white doors with two large elaborate gold pulls and gold hinges. The door was being guarded by a huge man; but then again, maybe he was something else (no wings though.)
I asked who was sitting next to me, “What is this place?”
He looked at me in shock and said, “Why this is the Great White Throne of Judgment. I am about to meet Jesus.” He looked away then back and said, “And you are next!”
Just then the door man calls his name and when the huge door opened he walked through to throngs of cheers. When the door closed I asked the man at the door, “Was he someone famous?”
The man stared at me for a long time before saying, “No, and it wouldn’t make any difference anyway because this is not for who you are, but it is for what you have done with what you have been given.”
With that I felt my heart sink! It’s wasn’t that I was afraid of being refused entry; I knew that I was covered there, but I was afraid of complete embarrassment, like I was about to be interviewed to join the ultimate organization and realizing too late that I’m way out of my league! What have I really done or what have I accomplished with my life, somehow any great career I had or whatever spirituality I possessed was quickly fading.
It seemed only seconds before I heard the big man yell, “Next!”
I stood up and slowly walked through the big white doors and stepped into the most enormous room in the universe. There were more rows of people than I could even see, let alone count. I turned and look upon a huge stage that dwarfed the figure of the man standing in the middle. Behind him stood the most massive big-screen anyone could imagine, it could be seen from miles away. On the screen, I saw a hundred or more faces and just at that moment, the same loud cheers as I heard before, rang out again. I thought they can’t be for me, but that’s when I looked to the far end of the stage and saw the man who was before me, just walking off. I noticed the man standing in the middle of the stage who, dressed in a white robe, was motioning me to come forward. When I started to walk towards Him, the cheers got louder but the faces on the big screen never changed. While I walked toward him, the lyrics “I Could Only Imagine,” from Wynonna Judd played in my head, “Will I stand before you Jesus, or to my knees will I fall, will I say hallelujah or will I be able to speak at all?” As I drew close, the image of Him was like nothing I expected, rather non-descript actually, but then after all, this was about whom He was and not what He looked like.
When I stood next to Him I tried to kneel but He put His hand under my shoulder and pulled me back to my feet saying, “later, we have a lot to do and only a little time to do it.”
I asked, “Who are all of these people on the screen behind you?”
He cocks His head as if surprised, “Why these are all of the people I have touched through you.”
A little shocked I ask, “How can that be, there are so many and I only recognize a few?”
From under His robe he pulls out an I-Pad, and holding it in His right hand, He uses His left to touch the screen and instantly, the same faces now show on it. As He touches it again to bring one of the faces up, the sleeve on His right arm dropped down and I caught my breath when I saw the nail scar on His wrist. The face of a young woman appeared on His screen and on the big one behind Him. He asked, “Do you recognize this person?”
“No, I am afraid I do not know her.”
“Really, she knows you very well.” I looked confused so He added, “Do you remember getting a phone call late one night, saying that this person was on her death bed with a brain tumor and you were asked to pray for her?” I finally nodded and He smiled and continued, “When you started to pray you instantly got an anointing and you couldn’t stop, you prayed all that night and up until 10:30 the next morning. That’s when the anointing stopped and you stopped. You got a call later that same day, saying that she passed away. You asked at what time, and you were told 10:30. I am pleased to tell you, she is here with Me because of what you did.”
“But how, why?”
He smiled and said, “That would take much too long to explain, just trust Me that it is so.” He touched the screen again and another face appeared, “Now, you remember him do you not?”
“Yes, he was my old drafting teacher, but when I prayed for a healing, he died anyway.”
“Yes, but he got much more from you than a healing.” Tears start to flow from my eyes as He touches the screen again and then again with many more explanations for people I did not recognize. Then He smiled and asked, “So what about your stories that you put in with the Christmas letters, the stories that no one reads?” He just ignores my sigh and touches the screen again, another hundred people appeared. “These are all of those that you sent them to. Now touch any face on the screen.” I touch a familiar face of a doctor and when I do many more faces appear. “These are who he reads it to. Now, touch one of their faces,” and when I do a few more faces appear. He looks at me and says,” My son you need to realize that when someone touches anyone else for My sake, whether that person is big or small, famous or not, the touch he or she gives is echoed a hundred times over. This is not just for the clergy, but anyone who will trust Me to use them to touch others.”
I squint hard and then ask, “But Lord what about the bad stuff? How can You use me to do all of that and yet I have all of…..you know……?”
“Ahh yes that. We need to deal with that too, please look at the screen and do not turn your face away even though you will want to.”
He touches another App on His I-Pad and several folders pop up with names that only I would recognize but they immediately make my stomach-ache. I speak softly and ask, “You aren’t going to open any of those are you?”
Without looking at me He says, “Whatever is done in secret will be…….” Then He asks, “Do you trust me?” I nod and with that He touched the worst folder and what came up made my knees weak. When the crowd became totally silent, I knew it was on the big screen. Shame overwhelmed me, I squinted hard but the tears continued to flow down my cheeks. I felt something brush my left cheek and when I opened my eyes He had picked up a tear on His index finger. He said, “Keep watching the screen,” and as I did, I noticed Him taking my tear and gently rubbing it over the scar on His other wrist, and as He did, I started to hear a stirring begin to come from the audience, it was as if they knew something was coming. Within seconds, I noticed the image on the screen was starting to fade. As the fading continued the noise from the multitude got louder and louder until the image was completely gone. When the three little words, “This file is empty,” appeared across the screen, the whole crowd exploded in thunderous applause! The deafening applause continued as the contents of each file was replaced with the same three words.
He smiled and asked, “Why do you look so surprised,” He leaned in close to me and spoke softly but still audible over the noise of the multitude, “No life is insignificant who puts their trust in Me. As I have done this for you, I will continue to do it and not just for you but all who need it, from the greatest of the great to the least of the least, for anyone who believes in Me and He who sent me.” The Lord took me by the shoulder and turned me back towards the big white doors, I feel a slight shove and I hear Him say, “Now go, you have a Christmas letter to write and a few other things as well.”
As I headed back toward the large white doors, they started to fade and soon the sage brush and oak trees take their place, and again all was as it should be. Was I caught up into heaven, no? Was it truly a vision, maybe not, but did I get a Word? You bet I did!
“No life is insignificant who puts their trust in me. You need to realize that when someone touches anyone else for My sake, whether that person is big or small, famous or not, the touch he or she gives is echoed a hundred times over. This is not just for the clergy, but anyone who will trust Me to use them to touch others.
As for Forgiveness; as I have done this for you, I will continue to do it and not just for you but all who need it, from the greatest of the great to the least of the least, for anyone who believes in Me and He who sent me.”