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Previous Message From Virtual Church

Cleveland Snowstorm

Ted Glass took a sip of his Diet Pepsi and peered out the plate glass window of the Cleveland airport. Ted was trying to spot the limo that was to take him to the hotel. Cleveland was under a severe winter storm warning and Ted did not want to get stuck in an airport terminal for however long it took to clear the roads.

Shortly, a blue limo drove up and Ted exited out the terminal doors to the passenger side of the van. Ted did not wait for the driver to help with the luggage. Ted picked up the bags, threw the luggage in onto seat, and crawled in. The driver asked politely, "Where to, sir?" Ted answered, "The Plaza on Turner Blvd." The driver eased out of the curbside parking space and slowly wound his way out of the airport. The snow was falling more heavily by the minute and the wind had picked up. Ted could not see out the side windows and the front windows were becoming more and more blurred. The van began an uphill climb and within minutes the van was caught up in a total white out. In a voice tinged with fear and dread, Ted asked the driver, "How can you see?" The driver replied, "Don't need to, sir." "Don't need to? What do you mean, don't need to? You have to see to drive!" said Ted. "No, we are on auto-pilot from here on." said the driver.

At this comment Ted became more alarmed. The van was still moving uphill because Ted could feel the pressure of his back against the seat. Ted finally said, "OK, what is going on? There is no autopilot in place in any van anywhere. What is going on?" The driver paused for just a moment and then said, "Well, we are bound for glory land and from here on, the van pretty much runs itself." With a healthy dose of sarcasm in his voice, Ted replied, "Who wants to go to a theme park, in Cleveland, in the middle of a blizzard? What's going on?" The driver didn't say anything for a minute and then said, "Well, in a way, I always regret having to tell people this, but sir, you are dead. We are not headed for a theme park. We are headed for Heaven." Ted was a little stunned at the answer but kept silent for just a moment and then said, "This is no time to be joking around." The driver smiled and said, "Oh, it's no joke, sir. You died a short time ago. I know you don't believe me, but you know those knots on your hands from that arthritis? Well, check and see if you still have them?" Ted looked down at his hands and the knots were gone. The driver said, "You will also note that your watch is gone because you don't need a watch up here either." In protest, Ted said, "No, no, no. I am not dead and this dream will be over soon enough. You see, I can't be dead because I am still alive and I can't die because I have to work. I have three projects going and no one knows how to handle any of that business but me. Plus, I have a wife, a son that's getting married next month, and my car has to go into the shop. You see, I can't die. So if you will just wake me up, we can get on our way to the hotel." The limo driver shook his head and said, "Sorry sir. You really are dead, at least dead in the body. Very shortly the van will stop and a guy named Pete will be your first contact. Pete will sort of give you an introduction to things."

In protest and with more of a sense of urgency, Ted replied, "No, wait. I can't be dead because I didn't live long enough. I didn't do enough. I didn't say good-bye to anyone. I didn't pile up enough accomplishments. I didn’t tell enough people I cared about them. I have too much unfinished business. I can't be dead." Shortly the van leveled off and came to a halt, the windows cleared up, and Ted saw that he was in a large white room. The driver rolled down his window and someone dressed in all white appeared from nowhere just outside the driver's window. The driver said, "Hi, Pete." Pete replied, "Hi, Michael." The van driver said, "This one may be a little difficult. He doesn't want to be dead or he doesn't think he is dead, take your pick."

Pete looked a bit frustrated, but said, "Well, we get a few like that. Anyway, let me go check my list. I'll be right back." In an instant, Pete seemed to vanish and reappear. Pete then said, "Michael, we have a problem. Something must have gone wrong with the autopilot. He wasn't supposed to be brought here. He was supposed to be cast down into the outer darkness. You know, cast into hell?" Michael replied, "Uh oh, I don't make deliveries into that much heat. Anyway, I think the only way people go there is if they kind of get ripped out of their body like getting an arm or leg ripped off. Pretty awful experience I would think. What do we do with the guy." Ted then chimed in saying, "Wait a minute. Are you saying I am supposed to be going to hell? Are you saying I am dead and bound for hell? What kind of dream is this? I need to wake up. This is not good. Would one of you please wake me up? Please." "Sorry sir, you are dead and we cannot wake you up." said Michael. Ted said, "Listen, I always kind of believed in God and stuff and I always tried to live a decent life. Can't you give me some kind of pass or something? At least until I wake up. Maybe I could just hang around the outside of wherever I am until we can get this problem straightened out. I am not a bad guy. I volunteer. I help people. I always try to do the right thing. I even go to church on Easter."

"Sir, sir. Are you Mr. Glass? Are you Mr. Glass?" came a voice in the darkness. Suddenly Ted opened his eyes. Ted was back in the airport terminal. It was all just a dream. "Sir, are you Mr. Glass? asked a young man standing in front of Ted Glass. Ted replied, "Uh, well, yeah, who are you?" I am Frank, your limo driver. We are going to be here for awhile because all the roads are closed because of the blizzard. But I can get you to a nearby motel if you would like. We have a contact at the motel and the motel still has one room available." Ted thought for a minute, trying to reorient himself to where he was. Ted replied, "OK, sure, get me to the nearest motel."

After the driver placed Ted's luggage in the back of the limo both men climbed inside the van. As the driver pulled away from the curb, the driver said, "I'm sorry about being late. Our other driver, named Michael, has gotten lost. We track our vehicles with a GPS security tracking device in case of theft and we can't find the vehicle. For security reasons we also put tags on our drivers and we can't locate Michael either. We can't get his cell phone to answer and it is not because of the weather. Even if he got lost in the snowstorm, we should still be able to find him because we have not lost electrical power anywhere. Right now it seems he and the limo have vanished."

Ted's mind was swimming. Was it a dream or was it real? Had he gone to Heaven and then returned to life? Within a couple of minutes the limo arrived at a motel just outside of the Cleveland airport. The driver exited the driver's side door and helped Ted put his luggage on a luggage cart. Ted handed the driver a tip and pushed the motel door open pulling the luggage cart behind him. The counter clerk greeted Ted with a warm smile and said something about the snow but Ted was too distracted to say much. After the check-in, the clerk handed Ted the digital entry key for the room and Ted went immediately to the elevator. Ted pulled the luggage cart into the room and called his wife, Mary, on his cell phone. Without even saying "Hello," Ted said, "Mary, do you believe in God?" Taken aback, Mary said, "What's wrong Ted? What's the matter?" Ted then replayed what had happened to him in the dream. The longer Ted talked the more he convinced himself and Mary it was just a dream. The more he talked to Mary, the more Ted realized it is impossible for people to go Heaven in a van and it is impossible for people to come back to life if they die. After chatting about other things for several minutes, Ted said good-bye to Mary and promised to call her tomorrow. Things were looking clearer now for Ted. What a dream! Ted kept telling himself over and over it was just a dream. Ted then looked at his watch to see the time and his watch was gone. So were the knots on his hands from his arthritis.

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (NIV)

This story appeared as the September, 2003 virtual church message at Shepherd's Care Ministries virtual church site at http://www.findthepower.com

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Entire contents copyright © 1999 - 2010 by Rev. Patrick Kelly, All rights reserved.
All content is presented on behalf of Shepherd’s Care Ministries. Shepherd's Care Ministries reserves no right or claim upon content.

Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018