“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4). Whenever a believer in Christ enters into prayer, he enters into the presence of God Himself. During that moment he touches the realm of eternity.
On our recent mission trip to Sandy Valley, Nev, we had the privilege of coming before the Lord many times. Indeed the needs were so great and the spiritual opposition so strong that we frequently withdrew for prayer. One such occasion occurred while en route in New Mexico early one morning.
Five of us on the mission team were traveling by van to our destination. It was a three day trip. Five others from our county were traveling by air out of Knoxville to Las Vegas, then by rental car to Sandy Valley. We had lost two team members at the last minute due to a death in the family, and I was still trying to find ways to cover all responsibilities with a smaller team. Suddenly it looked like we might not even have our other five.
Air travel is tricky these days under the best of conditions. Flights are routinely delayed or even canceled, often at the last minute. That Saturday morning offered up its own troubles. As we were packing the van for another day’s travel, about to leave the Albuquerque church that had graciously lodged us for the night, members of our team in the Knoxville airport sent us a message because of flooding in Chicago, their flight was delayed. We each prayed silently that they could leave soon. Their help was sorely needed even from day one in Sandy Valley. We continued to pack up.
But within 15 minutes we received an updated report from our fellow team members all flights routed through Chicago would be canceled due to the conditions there. This news meant major trouble for our mission effort. When would the others arrive in Sandy Valley? Would they be able to get there at all?
Our half of the team stopped what we were doing and gathered around a table, held hands, and entered the presence of the Lord. In that quiet moment we were touching eternity, the realm of God. We didn’t know what the Lord would do about our problem, but we knew that somehow it would be alright. Thirty minutes later my wife texted me, “We’re boarding the plane!” God heard. God answered.
Our spirits were high as we drove on that morning. The sun was beginning to take hold of the day. Traffic was light. At one point, however, we came up behind a slower-moving farm vehicle. Shann was driving, and trying to avoid getting stuck behind the farm truck, he began to jockey for position with a little blue sports car with a young couple inside. Finally we and the sports car were able to clear the slower vehicle. The sports car sped on.
Less than an hour later, flashing blue and red lights appeared ahead. Police and other emergency vehicles were parked along the highway. An accident had occurred just minutes before. Traffic was not even piling up yet. As we slipped on through the accident scene, we noticed a little blue sports car off the road turned upside down. Lying on the ground were two bodies, each on a stretcher, each covered with a white sheet.
We had seen that couple less than an hour before, full of life, full of plans, in a hurry. Where were their hearts spiritually? I wish I knew. Did they ever think about eternal matters? Did they ever pause to consider that one day they would see God face to face, for better or for worse? Little did they know little did we know that that very morning God would call them into his presence. We had seen them on this side of eternity just briefly. Minutes later they were on the other side.
Twice that morning we had a brush with eternity, one delightful, one sorrowful. But both were reminders of the God who holds our destiny.
“Man is like a breath;His days are like a passing shadow” (Psalm 144:4).