After my father, Bishop Frank L. Robertson (Brother Frank), retired from the Episcopacy of the United Methodist Church, he was asked to be the founding pastor of a new church on St. Simons Island, Georgia.
He eagerly accepted the challenge, inviting many families to join the new congregation. As would be expected, these charter members of the new church worked very closely with my father and were devoted to the church and to him as their pastor.
One family — Karen, Tom and their children — were enthusiastic workers in the new church until Karen was diagnosed with cancer. She struggled valiantly against the disease and was often admitted to the hospital for treatment when she reached a crisis.
On one occasion, when Karen was particularly ill, she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. She remained unconscious for several days. One day she awoke smiling as she saw husband Tom standing next to her hospital bed.
“Tom, I have something incredible to tell you!” Karen exclaimed.
“What is it, Honey?” he asked anxiously.
“Tom, I’ve been to Heaven!” Karen answered. “It’s the most beautiful place you could imagine! I saw Jesus and some of my family members who have died. They wanted me to stay with them but I guess it’s not time for me to go there yet.”
Karen paused for a moment. “Is there something more you want to tell me about Heaven?” Tom inquired gently.
“Yes, there is something I don’t understand. I saw someone else in Heaven.”
“Who was it?” Tom asked.
“I saw Brother Frank in Heaven with Jesus and he held out his arms to me. Tom, why did I see Brother Frank in Heaven?” Karen asked.
Tom was stunned for a moment but he knew he had to tell Karen the truth. “Honey,” he said, “Brother Frank died two days ago while you were unconscious. That must be why you saw him in Heaven.
What an assurance of immortality this was to two families! This experience brought peace to Karen and Tom as they faced her death a few months later and to our family when they shared this story with us. How grateful we are that God assures us that there is a place for us in the House not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.Tags: grief, hope