Glimpses of Glory

Have you ever been at the end of your rope, and God brings the right person at the right moment to remind you that He’s got you? Author Emily P. Freeman described it perfectly, I think, when she called those instances ‘glimpses of glory’:

“I’m sure you can relate to gripping the edge of your seat in an airplane or in some other area such as your kitchen or your church or your car, holding on for dear life because you don’t know what will happen next, and that can be the worst part, the not knowing. But then comes a glimpse of glory you didn’t expect: her perfectly timed phone call, his warm smile, a note in the mail, a kind word from a stranger, the sun rising up to kiss an airplane window.”

from “The Next Right Thing

That was me. I got a phone call in the middle of the night, saying my only sister had been in a drowning accident and was in the hospital (that’s Kara in the title photo). That sentence seems so matter of fact, but I’m sure you can imagine or relate to the emotions swirling around that call. It is true what has been said: how your whole life can change in an instant.

I was in Ohio, getting ready to staff a Christian teen camp. But by that next afternoon, I was on a flight to northern California, where my sister was with my mom and her husband (thanks must be given to Christian Family Fellowship for rallying around me and making it simple to leave my responsibilities in a lurch).

Kara & her then 1-year-old daughter

It’s a long trip from Ohio to California. It’s even longer when someone’s life is literally hanging in the balance. I was talking on my cell to a friend as I boarded the plane (rude, I know – I just didn’t care at that point), and I started praying and commanding health for Kara.

Afterwards, I noticed the passenger sitting next to me was writing in a journal. Of course, I had to ask.

It turned out, this young woman was writing down thoughts and experiences from a Christian women’s conference she had just attended in Florida. Anne said that she had heard me praying and thought I must be a believing Christian, too.

Anne told me about the conference she and her friends had participated in, and how God had encouraged them together and with Him. Then, she started sharing her own powerful testimony of what God had brought her through. And when she was at one of her lowest points, God reminded her of who she was to Him.

Anne put it in a way that I will never forget: “God downloaded my identity into me.”

We ended our time by praying together for Kara and for Anne’s own future and God-inspired vision.

Fortified for the Battle

In the end, Kara did pass away. But there were several long days spent at the hospital, keeping vigil, riding the doctor’s diagnostic rollercoaster, and trying to support the family and friends surrounding her up until then.

Meeting and praying with Anne gave me the extra boost I needed to walk into that hospital room ready to do battle (anyone who’s had a loved one sick knows it’s a fight, whether spiritually, emotionally or mentally). She was my “glimpse of glory” in a devastating trauma.

And as Kara, who had been through her own emotional heartache and trauma, was lying there connected to all those tubes, I just kept remembering Anne’s line about how God worked with her.

There were lots of messages of love shared with Kara in that hospital room – from group face-to-face talks, private whispered conversations, or phone messages and passed on kisses.

But most importantly, I believe that Kara finally understood how precious she was to the Father and God that created her. That His love for her never stopped nor decreased. I truly believe that before Kara passed, God “downloaded” her identity into her.

May He do the same for you, dear reader – and may you believe Him wholeheartedly.

An extended version of Emily’s quote:

I’m sure you can relate to gripping the edge of your seat in an airplane or in some other area such as your kitchen or your church or your car, holding on for dear life because you don’t know what will happen next, and that can be the worst part, the not knowing. But then comes a glimpse of glory you didn’t expect: her perfectly timed phone call, his warm smile, a note in the mail, a kind word from a stranger, the sun rising up to kiss an airplane window. And you see it even though you weren’t looking for it; you are given it even though you forgot to ask for it, this reminder that you are not invisible. A reminder that God has not forgotten and that glory is everywhere all the time, peeking out from behind warm eyes, tired hands, and pink clouds; a reminder that no matter how much we plan, list, discern, and plot, sometimes the best things that happen in life are ones we never even know are coming, much less plan for.”