God Gives Hugs
May 16, 2012

Before May 16, 2012 I was skeptical, as well as critical, of anyone that claimed to have seen Jesus, angels, or experienced a journey to heaven. I still question many of the supernatural manifestations we read about, however, the story you are about to read is true. My purpose for telling this story is not to convince anyone, and truthfully speaking, I would not believe this story if it had not happened to me. Regardless, I know there is someone out there who has experienced something similiar, and it is for them I tell my story and pray they will reach out.

Wednesday ended no different from any other day that week. Around 9:20 pm, I was taking my dog for a walk. The sun had set, leaving the air comfortably warm and with just enough light to paint the landscape in the soft, muted palette of the colors of late evening.

          The Holy Spirit’s presence was unusually powerful that evening as He whispered to my heart about my heavenly Father’s love. In that instant, I was deeply moved by a newfound awareness of the kind of love needed for Jesus to die such a horrible death and for His Father to endure the rejection, torture, and crucifixion of His beloved Son. I asked God to forgive my sins and especially my ungrateful attitude, after complaining so much about certain situations in my life that never seemed to improve.

          From the Holy Spirit’s counsel regarding the tremendous sacrifices that my heavenly Father and Jesus made on my behalf, I stated that if He had done nothing more for humanity than offering His Son as the sin sacrifice, it would still be more than we deserve. I prayed that His will be accomplished in my life, concluding my prayer with a request for a hug. Sometimes I prayed for a sign, but I am hesitant because we are to walk by faith and not sight. Admittedly, over the past twenty-nine years, I have asked to see an angel. However, my heavenly Father has provided me with hugs vicariously through many acts of compassion: a kind word from a brother, a smile from a loved one, a personal message in a sermon, a friendly embrace or gesture, a pleasant coincidence, favor, an unexpected meeting with a stranger that brings me peace – the list goes on. Inconspicuous acts of kindheartedness that only I recognize as a hug from my heavenly Father. I do not need a sign to believe in God, but on occasion, my flesh needs a word of encouragement.

          Heading back home, I began walking up the driveway when I noticed in the western sky a bright light that at first appeared to be a star or maybe the landing lights of a plane. The glow was intense and seemed to be moving, so I stood gazing up at the celestial wonder. Suddenly, below the star and against the tree line across the road, there was a motion – like a large bird flapping its wings. It appeared as if the bird was caught in a fabric and imprinted on the fabric was the view before me. Whatever was thrashing seemed to fly up above the tree line and now was against the evening sky. Suddenly, a single flash of light lit up the sky, preceded by a half dozen more – like sparklers when first lit. “Is it a meteor?” I wondered to myself. Finally, a tremendous burst of light made that section of the evening sky appear to be on fire. This burst of light rendered a hole, window, or portal of sorts. I will try to describe it another way. The scene before me (sky, trees, yard, etc.) was as a piece of fabric and behind this drapery was a bright light that began burning holes in the fabric revealing a view of the other side.

          Through the opening, I saw the backside of a winged creature whose wings were moving so quickly that the scene was a blur. Abruptly, the wings stopped flapping and at that moment, I realized that the winged creature was an angel. Only visible was the angel’s left wing, because the right side was beyond the window opening and the angel's head and body were partially obscured in what appeared to be a cloud of smoke. Only a faint outline of the face was visible, but I could see enough to know that the angel was looking back at the source of light. Above and to the left of the angel’s wing was a crystal blue sky filled with white clouds brilliantly illuminated by a light. A beautiful white light, impossibly radiant, was shining in the distance, but its source was out of view. The angel’s wing glowed as it reflected the light. The wing was translucent and looked like it was made of glass or crystal. Luminous colors ran through the wing, changing hue and direction, like a cuttlefish. The colors instantly appeared and continually changed colors as they coursed through the crystal-like framework of the wing.

          All at once, the angel started to leave, and it appeared that the movement of the wings mended the hole in the evening sky. The entire vision lasted about ten to fifteen seconds. I do not remember any sound associated with this supernatural manifestation, for the visual beauty overpowered the auditory senses.

          I flew out of town the next day for a meeting, and in every waking minute I was in a mental tug-of-war between the natural and spiritual. When something happens that defies human logic our natural mind tries to dismiss it. And yet, no longer do I question the legitimacy of the vision that evening, even though it has taken several months for my mind to absorb. My question now is, “What is the lesson or the meaning of this vision?”

          At the time it happened, my thoughts, as I gazed at the light of God’s Glory and upon an angel who was present when God spoke the world into being, were not: “God is real”, “The Bible is true”, “Jesus does exist”, or “There really is a heaven”. These thoughts never entered my mind. Over the years, my Christian journey has removed all doubt about whether God is real and that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I had walked with my heavenly Father long enough that a sign was not necessary.

          Signs and wonders will follow those who already believe, not as a means of convincing one who is sitting on the fence. These signs and wonders strengthen God’s children as they walk through the storms of life. After walking with God for twenty-nine years, He decided to answer my prayer for a hug in a miraculous way.   

          Thus, the lesson God wanted me to learn was not about future events, but His profoundly deep and abiding love. The heavenly Father was encouraged with my heartfelt understanding of the costly sacrifices made by Him and His Son and for my deepest gratitude for His love. Almighty God seared an opening in the veil of creation, one that offered me a euphoric glimpse of my future home and the light of His glory. God did not do this because I am more special to Him than any other born-again believer. However, like any parent whose child comes to a full understanding of the sacrifices his or her parents have made for them, we (the parents) react with uncommon favor toward that child.