It’s true what folks say about time going faster as you grow older. It can seem a bit like when you’re nearing the end of the toilet roll. Try tearing two sheets off and, before you can stop it, the remainder of the roll has unravelled and dropped to the floor. I’m not saying you need a toilet roll to mop up stuff that’s happened in your life but it would come in handy if it was that simple. However, it’s the nature of things that we are plunged into pits of despair sometimes in order for us to treasure our moments of mountain-top joy.

I have been in the pits myself lately. So many people I know have passed away this year that I found myself caught up in thinking about my own mortality and this, in turn, led me to withdraw from some of the activities I normally enjoy, resulting in my wallowing in my own misery for a time.

During this dark period I relied on my faith in God to pull me through and was rewarded with affirming glimpses of His glory and His love for mankind. I’d like to share one such glimpse with you and invite you to reflect and consider what it might mean to believe in a loving God.

First a little background.

I am currently attending a series of meditative reflections entitled Deeper into Prayer, the latest one being ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’. During one of the meditations, the leader asked whether we thought non-believers who had died were in Heaven. She asked how many of us believed that they were not. She talked of how God had made clothes for Adam and Eve before ordering them to leave the Garden of Eden because they had disobeyed God by eating from the Tree of Knowledge (Genesis 3:21). If God loved them so much that he did not send them out into the world naked, how could such a God turn anyone away from Heaven?

It’s a thought worth pondering over and I, for one, hope and pray that my own father, who believed there was nothing at all after death, is in Heaven. Maybe it’s enough that my believing that as I pray for him had made it true.

In life, I’ve always said there are no coincidences, only God-incidences, ie, God’s plan for our lives. One such incident unfolded the day after I’d attended this session on prayer when I came across a neighbour as I was entering and she was leaving a supermarket. It was the first time I’d seen her since her husband had died the week before. I gave her a supportive hug. She seemed in a contented state as she spoke of her husband’s release from the pain he’d been suffering. She had sat with him before the end and said it was as though he was watching something as he listened intently. When she spoke to him he said, ‘shush, wait a minute’. A minute later, he turned towards her and said, ‘you can go now.’ She slipped out for a coffee. When she returned he’d passed away. He was smiling.

Had God sent someone to accompany him on his final journey?

Her husband was a devout atheist while she believes in angels. She told me she’d been praying silently to Gabriel for her husband to be taken peacefully. We agreed that Angel Gabriel, in whatever form was unique to her husband, must have been who he had been watching and listening to.

This chance meeting (God-incidence) at the supermarket had brought us together for a reason. To help each other out in our different needs. My neighbour was able to release her tearful emotions as she told me her story. I received the gift of hope that someone had been there to guide my dad to Heaven just as someone had been there for her husband.

‘To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.’ (Ecclesiastes 3)

I hope you’ll allow these thoughts to soak into your soul for a while rather than reach for the toilet roll to mop them away.

With love and prayers to all.