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
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