I had just walked out of my house heading to a small get-together with friends when I heard someone say, “This is the last time you’ll ever see your family.” The odd thing about it was that there was no one standing around me. The voice had entirely been in my head, and yet it seemed completely audible as if I had been talking to a real person. To say the least, it was extremely concerning to me and it began a series of events that have tested my faith perhaps more than anything I’ve ever experienced.
Let me back up and explain a little more background. It was late July, 2014 and two weeks prior I had taken my wife and kids to Kansas City for the July 4th weekend to visit my wife’s parents. We arrived early evening and it was perfect golfing weather–not too hot and very little wind. Luckily, I had brought my golf clubs, so I asked my wife if she minded if I went to a nearby driving range to hit some balls. The kids were occupied playing with their cousins and she was catching up with her sister, so I was given the green light to go. On the drive there, I had the weirdest premonition that my wife was going to call me and say that my son (then almost 4 years old) had hurt himself. I really have no way to explain it–just an odd sense. I tried not to pay much attention to it, because it’s really pretty easy for me to worry about nothing. In fact, I often think about Mark Twain’s quote, “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” Most of the things we worry about, indeed, never come true, so it doesn’t do us any good to worry. The fact of the matter is that we don’t know what will happen in the future, only God does, and yet we spend so much time worrying about things that are only within His control. And the Bible tells us many times not to worry or be anxious. But practically speaking, this is not always easy to do. That night was no exception.
I did try to put it out of my mind, however, and arrived at the golf course, purchased my range balls, and went to the range and started my routine. I couldn’t have been more than a dozen balls in when my phone rang. Usually, I don’t answer my phone when I’m at the range. The only exception, of course, is when my wife calls. This time, I didn’t really need to check my caller ID to see who it was. The only question in my mind was, “what happened?” She said, “Jonah hurt his leg. He fell outside and he’s got a bump on his shin, but it doesn’t look like there is any bruising.”
“Can he walk on it?” I asked.
“No, my dad had to carry him in.”
“Send me a picture…”
The moment I saw the picture, I didn’t need a doctor to tell me what was wrong. I knew he had broken his leg. (Having been an active boy myself, I was no stranger to broken bones.) So I rushed back to the house and we took him to the hospital where they took x-rays and confirmed what I already knew to be true–he had fractured his Tibia.
Let me clarify that in no way was I worried about his life being in danger. It was just that we have been to the ER in Kansas City more times than we’ve been to the ER in our own city. For us it just seems that if something is going to go wrong, it’s going to happen in KC… or on a holiday…or both… and I just end up with one more ER bill to pay. While I am thankful for the care we’ve received, it’s still frustrating…
To get back to the story, despite my son being confined to a splint, we still enjoyed our time in KC, and although my premonition that something was going to happen came true, I really didn’t give it much further thought, until 2 weeks later when I heard that voice say, “This is the last time you will see your family.”
The fact that the premonition with my son came true is what made that voice so scary. Thoughts began to race in my head over whether the message I had heard would come true just as it had with my son. Was something about to happen to me that would take my life? Had I just said good-bye to my family for the last time?
Fear is often illogical and does not come from God. 1 Timothy 1:7 (ESV) says, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” Furthermore, we are told hundreds of more times in the Bible not to fear. I know this. But in the emotion of the moment, I was extremely fearful. Why? Because this time, my fear didn’t seem so illogical. In fact, it would have been much easier to brush off the fear and forget that voice had it not been for an event that occurred just two days before…
TO BE CONTINUED…