Peaceful pyrotechnics

Have you ever doubted God or the existence of heaven? On a particularly bad day, Lisa Erickson, 49, of Trempealeau, Wis., was no longer sure of her faith. Then God reassured her in a spectacular - and illuminating - way. Read on as Lisa shares her story.

About five years ago, my father died rather unexpectedly. It left my siblings and me with a mother suffering from the early stages of dementia, a house with many decades of family belongings, and no plan. After many family meetings, we decided that we would clean and sell my parents’ house, move my mother to an assisted living center near my brother, and help her start a new chapter in her life.

As we did so, we were blessed in so many ways. While cleaning my parents’ house, we ran across a total of nine hidden wallets that my father had hidden in the house, each with $100 in cash inside. We listed the house with a realtor, and it sold in 24 hours! The Salvation Army hauled away furniture and kitchen items that were no longer needed, and my mother agreed to move without any hesitation.

It wasn’t until we had moved my mother into her new apartment, set up the apartment with furniture, hung pictures and did all the other tasks to make her feel comfortable that I started home on a three-hour drive. I had driven for about an hour and was in the middle of a rural stretch of highway when it hit me. What if the end of our life is merely that – the end?

I was overtaken with a feeling of dread and fear. My father had just died, and everything seemed so empty and hopeless. What if his life had ended and there wasn’t anything waiting for him? What if I would never see him again? What if everything that I had been taught in my spiritual classes (confirmation, Bible School, Sunday School, etc.) was a lie?

I started to weep, which obviously isn’t the best condition for driving. As I turned my head and wiped my tears, I saw a huge fireworks display out the driver’s side window. A beautiful red burst of color just filled the sky – in a corn field!

I put my foot on the brake and pulled over to the side of the road immediately and waited for more. Odd . . . this was September. But there was nothing else. I’d already seen the show: One explosion of color in the middle of a cornfield on a lonely highway, in a place I’dd never seen fireworks before.

And then I knew. Of course there’s life after death! Such well-timed beauty in a desolate place was enough reassurance for me. At that moment, God gave me peace and my doubts disappeared.  It’s been five years since that day and life is good. My mother has since moved to a care center, and we visit her often. And I still feel the peace that comes from knowing that this life is temporary, but life with God is eternal.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:2

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.”  John 3:36a

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