This testimony shared by author, Kelley Jankowsky in her book, “An Army in Heaven” affected me so strongly that I must share it here for all of you to be blessed by. The glimpse that her patient, Simon, had of Heaven was beautiful enough, but what was the most stirring was his meeting with Jesus Christ… How he described Jesus’s demeanor and personality was EXACTLY how I experienced Him in the 1990’s when I had a visitation from Him .. where I was not permitted to see Him visibally, but the Holy Spirit allowed me to see Him and His Majesty with spiritual eyes. I couldn’t stop crying after reading this testimony.. Please be blessed by it and I recccomend Kelley’s book of all true accounts she shared from her experiences as a nurse.
“The overhead paging system sounded, and we heard the operator say, “Code Blue, Emergency Room! Code Blue, Emergency Room!” Two hours later, I took report from the cardiac cath lab nurse and Simon was transferred to our unit, unconscious and on a ventilator. Once I made sure he was stabilized, I went out to the waiting room in search of his wife. I found Annie in the waiting room slowly pacing back and forth. Annie was a petite woman, neatly dressed in a long navy skirt with a white button-up blouse, clasped with a beautiful broach. A multicolored hand-knitted sweater draped over her shoulders. Her hands were wringing a small worn hand-embroidered handkerchief, and a worn pocketbook was held securely in the bend of her elbow. Her hair was neatly pulled back in a small bun at the nape of her neck, and two haircombs held her hair neatly from her face.
Her eyes met mine and were full of worry when she asked, “Is he okay? Is he awake?” “He’s doing okay, but right now, he isn’t awake because we have him medicated to keep him calm and sedate while his heart recovers a bit. He’s on the breathing machine and hooked up to IVs and the heart monitor. He also has his arms restrained because sometimes when people wake up on the breathing machine, their first instinct is to pull the tubes out of their mouths, and we don’t want that to happen until he’s a bit stronger.” I reached over and put my arm around her, giving her a reassuring squeeze, and guided her into the unit and toward his room. “It all happened so fast. He never said he had chest pain, just indigestion,” she said nervously, and then proceeded to tell me what happened that night, including what she fixed him for dinner, the 911 call, the paramedics’ arrival, and how, in her distress, she got lost on the way to the hospital. I led her into Simon’s cubicle, answered her many questions, and explained each of the tubes, medications, and his expected course of treatment. “I can’t stay because I don’t see well at night and driving is difficult for me. May I come back tomorrow?” “Any time you want to come in, you are more than welcome. Here’s the phone number that will dial directly into our unit. I’m here until seven thirty in the morning, so if you wake up in the middle of the night and want to check on him, just call me.” “Take good care of him, won’t you?” she asked as she opened her arms to hug me. “Yes, ma’am, I will, just like I would my own father.” I hugged her back, and she left for the night. Simon was a sixty-four-year-old soon-to-be-retired professor of economics at a nearby university. He was a tall large-bellied man with medium-brown skin splattered with freckles. His short-cropped hair, slightly receding, was a distinguished salt-and-pepper color. His hands were large, with very long neatly manicured fingers. The only jewelry he had was one silver wedding band that was covered in fine scratches from many years of wear.
During the night, Simon continued to do well, and although unconscious, I told him my name and explained that I was his nurse and told him everything I was going to do to him before I did it. I explained that he had suffered a heart attack, and reassured him that he was doing just fine. I told him that, in the morning, we would remove his tubes, and he would be able to talk to us. His vital signs remained stable, and his sedation medication was also weaned incrementally in anticipation of extubation (the removal of the breathing tube and ventilator). When I returned to work that night and took report from the day-shift nurse, I was told that he was successfully extubated and off the ventilator. Since then, the nurse explained, he had been very emotional, intermittently crying, but unwilling to divulge to anyone the reason why. We were thinking it may have been a side effect of the sedation medications or the trauma of the resuscitation or any number of reasons. I went into his room to introduce myself and begin my shift. “Hello, Simon, my name is—” “I know who you are, Kelley. You took care of me last night when my wife was here.” “Yes, I did. How did you— you were unconscious, how did you know that? Did you hear me when I was talking to you?” “Yes,” he replied, then he bowed his head as tears flowed down his face. “Honey, what’s the matter? Why are you crying?” I took his hand and handed him a tissue, which he pressed onto his face. He heaved heavily through the tissue, then after wiping his face, he folded it neatly in four and wiped his eyes again. Then he said, “I can’t believe this is happening.” I began to explain what happened to him last night when he interrupted me, “I know exactly what happened, my dear, you don’t need to explain it to me.” Reluctant to disclose any further information, Simon spent the rest of the evening quietly recollected and occasionally teary.
Throughout the shift, we related well to each other, and I was able to get him to smile now and again. Simon was an intelligent, humble man, and he often talked about God and about things going on in the world as different local and world news events flashed on the TV. He spoke about his love of music and was a very accomplished violinist. We compared our favorite classical composers, and he shared his regret of not pursuing a secondary degree in music. He spoke of his childhood, his marriage, and his work at the university. He and Annie had no children, but suffered two twenty-week miscarriages early in their marriage. He talked of his charity work as he volunteered frequently at one of the local soup kitchens. He expressed a deep empathy for those in need, a virtue that had been fostered by his parents when he was a young boy. His father was a lawyer, and his mother, a homemaker. They often brought homeless people into their home for a shower and a meal. They furnished them with new shoes, new clothes, heavy blankets or a coat during the winter, and loaded them with a sack of food and a few dollars for their pocket. “They were always bringing some stranger home. It was not unusual to find one or more new faces sitting at the table or asleep in the spare room when we got home from school. In our home, no one was ever turned away if they were in need.” His mother had died of breast cancer while in her early forties, and his father of a massive heart attack eleven months later. Although Simon was in college at that time, he said that their lives had much more of an impact on him, so much more than their deaths. “When you love God as they did, and you are amenable to His will, death is viewed as that stepping stone into eternal life with God. They both had an unshakable faith and subsequently had no real fear of death.”
He related that having grown up with parents like that, their generosity toward others became engrained in him. He frequently walked the streets, handing out food that Annie had made and packed up, as well as clothing and blankets, to the homeless. He was a very kind man, well-mannered, and always appreciative of everything we did for him. At seven thirty in the morning, when my shift ended, I went into his room to say good-bye. “I’ll be back tonight, Simon, and you and I are going to have another talk okay?” “About what?” “About the tears. What is it that makes you so sad?” I leaned forward and rested my elbows on his side rail. “You’ll never believe me,” he sighed. “You’d be surprised, Simon. In over twenty-five years of ICU nursing, I’ve heard and seen about everything imaginable. I really doubt that you could shock me.” We talked for a few more minutes, and after some prodding, he promised to tell me all about it when I returned that night. “I’m going to hold you to it, okay?” I said to him as I squeezed his hand. Simon smiled softly, looked up at me, and said, “You’re a persistent creature, aren’t you? I think I’ll call you Nurse Ratchet.” A big smile grew on his face, and I felt like I had forged a new friendship. When I returned that evening, our census was low, and the hospital overall was quiet. I quickly finished my initial duties, and then went in to see Simon. After assessing him and giving him his medications, I closed the glass doors in front of his cubicle, pulled up a chair, and lowered the side rail. “Well, Nurse Ratchet, I suppose my interrogation is about to begin?” He smiled and fumbled for the button to raise the head of his bed higher. “I guess you won’t be happy until I bare my soul, will you? But,” he said, shaking his finger at me, “don’t assume after hearing this that my next course of treatment includes four burly men in crisp white coats holding a straight jacket.” He reached over and took a sip of water. Placing the cup back on his nightstand, he sat quietly for a time, and then began.
“After dinner, my stomach became very upset. I felt a terrible pressure in my lower chest, very similar to indigestion, so I went into the kitchen to get my antacids. The pressure and squeezing in my chest got worse and worse. I grabbed onto the counter as I began getting dizzy and was sweating profusely, and well, my legs just gave out on me, and I collapsed onto the kitchen floor. I remember looking up at the ceiling fan, thinking, This is it, I’m going to die. I heard Annie frantically speaking with the 911 operator as the room began to spin and then everything went black. I woke up to find myself up near the ceiling, looking down on my body lying on the floor. I watched Annie shaking me and crying, and I saw the paramedics arrive and begin working on me. I watched them put me onto a stretcher and wheel me to the ambulance. I watched from above the ambulance as it sped away, and I followed it for a time, hovering about thirty feet above it. But when the ambulance turned left onto Wilkens Avenue, I kept going straight. When I looked down, I recognized the houses and streets. I saw streetlights changing and traffic begin and stop.” Simon looked over at me and said, “And when I looked down at myself”— he raised his hands up in front of him, fingers unfolded—” it didn’t look like my regular body. I mean, it had form, but not exactly like normal skin and bones.” He put his hands by his side and dropped his head back on his pillow. Still looking at me, he continued, “It’s so very difficult to explain, and I can’t seem to find the words for any of it.” “That’s understandable, Simon, most people who try to explain this kind of experience to others are at a loss for words. Our vocabulary is incapable of describing the indescribable.” “So you’ve heard this kind of thing before?” he said, raising his head off the pillow. He appeared not only surprised but also relieved. “Oh, yes, many times.”
After a slight pause, Simon continued, “Well, I kept going at a steady pace and was now as high as the tops of the telephone poles. Everything was so quiet, but when I travelled over areas of trees, I could hear birds chirping and leaves rustling. When over the reservoir, I could hear lapping water, frogs croaking, and crickets chirping. When I was above the city, cars honking and people talking. Gradually, I lifted higher and higher and then escalated at such an incredible speed that I wondered why I wasn’t burning up. But even at this speed, I felt no pain, no heat or discomfort, and no wind, only a light soothing breeze. I flew out of our atmosphere and into space, and yet in the vacuous silence of space, I heard the most beautiful music. It was a music I was unfamiliar with, and it was so incredibly beautiful, beyond any composer I had ever heard. I slowed down and turned around and looked at the earth.” He raised his hands in front of him with his palms up, as if cupping something. “There it was— just hanging there, suspended and surrounded by nothing. It was so immense in the middle of the blackness of space, and I was surprised at the sheer enormity of it. I wondered how these huge and awesome planets are suspended. How does something of such incredible weight just hang there, supported by nothing?” Simon paused and turned toward me. “You understand that I had no control over what was happening to me. I had no input over where I went or what was shown to me, and yet I had no fear. I just accepted and was open to it all. I slowly turned away from the earth and quickly escalated to a speed that I knew was very near or surpassed the speed of light. So as I went, I shot past stars and planets, slowing down several times near a particular planet, as if God were allowing me to take in the beauty of His creation. I saw planets that were completely unknown to us, and when I slowed down and drew near them, I again heard the most delicate music. I intuitively learned that what I was hearing was the music of that particular planet. Each one was different but beautifully composed, ethereal in nature, and by instruments that only vaguely resembled in sound our string instruments, but very similar too to the woodwinds, like oboes and clarinets. In the background, still in perfect harmony, the tinkling of bells shimmered in and out. The crescendo and decrescendo of these ‘instruments’ overlapped, and each one, in turn, took over a melody. Very much like our counterpoint compositions, you know, like Palestrina. Are you familiar with that style of music?” he asked, raising his eyebrows and looking at me over his glasses. “I am familiar with Palestrina, his compositions were truly inspired.” “Everything that I heard and saw was so completely perfect in its design and composition that I was awestruck. You see, I learned that everything God has created sings to Him— all of the planets, the stars, every single galaxy— filling the universe with an immense orchestra of praise. It’s so incredibly beautiful! I wasn’t surprised at the music, only by its incomparable loveliness.” He smiled, looked down at his fingers all the while fiddling with the tissue. He lifted his eyes toward the cupboard near the foot of his bed and continued. “When I looked at these beautiful galaxies, the design of each one of them was just breathtaking. Each was so different from the other that they resembled nothing I have ever seen from Hubble telescope photographs. Yet even in the darkness of space, there shines so vividly such beauty that it inspired me to sing out praise to God. I began singing out loud, singing to Him how much I loved Him. As I sang, the music that I heard in the background harmonized perfectly with the melody that sprang from my lips. It was just incredible, and it fit and flowed so perfectly.”
He smiled, still gazing toward the end of the bed, and then looking down at his lap, he continued, “I sped up faster and faster, and found myself completely encased in darkness and propelling toward what I thought was a very large star in the distance. As I came closer, the light of the star grew brighter and brighter, surrounding me more and more until there wasn’t any space left, and I was completely enveloped in this light. Now, it’s not as if something was pushing me into this light, you see, but I felt drawn into it, as if my soul were magnetically pulled toward it. And the closer I came toward it, the more my desire to reach it intensified.” He dropped his head and sighed. “I found myself in a room completely made of light from floor to ceiling, and then my mother and father appeared. They were young, very happy, and we were so excited to see each other again. I couldn’t believe how much love flowed between us and how thrilled and happy we were to be in each other’s company again. My father took me by the hand and led me into a huge, rolling meadow. Leaving the lighted room was like stepping out of a huge soap bubble. That thin membrane, no thicker than that of a soap bubble, was the only thing that separated these two areas. When we stepped from the room of light and entered into this separate world, I knew instinctively that I was on the outskirts of heaven. The breeze was warm and was very much alive. Every time it brushed up against me, it brought with it such an incredible feeling of happiness and peace. The place where we were standing was immense and so beautiful—beautiful— it was somewhat like the scenery or landscape that we have here on earth, but so much more beautiful, just indescribable. There were trees of species I have never seen before and beautiful beyond words, all in different sizes, and many were just enormous. There were flowers, lakes, and rivers, but on a scale that was incomparable to earthly size and beautiful beyond words and in colors that don’t exist here on earth, filling everything with incredible beauty. And the music— oh, the music! It just permeated everything and yet originated from everything. Yes, everything in heaven seemed to create its own music, and yet it all melted together into such a perfect harmony. I have never heard a melody on earth that compares. These harmonies blended back and forth, up and down, in and out with such incredible beauty that it overwhelmed my soul. It was alive, if you can imagine that, and it passed through me and filled me up, quenching every desire, and I knew that I was home.
“As I looked in absolute amazement at the breathtaking beauty that surrounded me, my mother came up from behind and turned me to the right, and there directly in front of me . . .” Simon’s chin quivered, and with a voice stifled with emotion, he said, “Right there, standing in front of me, was Jesus.” Wiping the tears away, he fiddled with the tissue in his hands, blew his nose, and continued, “I couldn’t believe it was my Lord, my Savior. Jesus opened up His arms, and beaming from the holes in His hands and feet and side were rays of beautiful pulsating light that were so welcoming that I flew into His arms so hard I should have knocked Him over.” Simon sighed and smiled up at me. “Those feelings that I had before, thinking I was complete, paled in comparison to what overwhelmed me in His embrace. Every molecule of my soul was exhilarated beyond human imagination. Every wave of love that poured out of Him flew into every tiny, minute recess of my soul to the point that I felt like I would explode should it continue. Love, forgiveness, acceptance pulsated into me, and I was left with a complete and perfect knowledge and understanding of myself. Every fault and failing filled me with such remorse that I fell on my knees at His feet. I clung to His feet and kissed His wounds as He continued to fill my soul, wave after wave of ever-increasing love. It was such tender and compassionate love that I had to beg Him to stop.” Simon wiped his copious tears and struggled to keep back the sobs straining to the surface. “How could I have ever offended such a God?” Simon paused, pressing the tissue to his eyes, and then removing the tissue, he folded it in half. “Jesus reached down, took me by the hands and stood me up in front of Him. He looked at me, through me, and then smiled, and immediately I was completely cleansed. All of my sins, my failures, my inability to be patient, loving, and caring— all of my unworthiness and every stain of sin were completely gone.” Simon stopped and inhaled abruptly; he wiped his eyes and blew his nose. After a pause to collect himself, he continued. “‘ Come,’ He said, ‘I want you to see.’
We were then immediately standing on the outskirts of an immense city that pulsated and sparkled with light. This light that fills heaven is so incredibly bright, but it never burdens the senses. You know how your eyes react when you go outside on a bright day and they strain to cover themselves from its glare? The light of heaven surpasses millions of times that of our sun, and yet my eyes were never offended in the least. I could easily look at it and see everything without the slightest discomfort, and everything was filled with this light. There were no shadows anywhere.” Simon was looking up at the clock hanging on the wall, as if visualizing again the wonder that his eyes only a short time ago had enjoyed. He shook his head as if to get himself back on track, diverted his eyes down toward his fingers fumbling with the tissue. “We were standing on a tall hilltop covered with the most luscious foliage and flowers that I have ever seen. Where we were standing looked down on a beautiful road that led into this city, when suddenly, we were surrounded by people. I instantly knew who they were, although many I had forgotten about on earth. They were all cheering and welcoming me so joyously. Each and every one of them hugged me, and there were so many of them! I saw neighbors and friends, my brother and sister, a man I gave a $ 20 bill to on the street, and countless more. I saw a man I had come across on the street in the dead of winter who was too weak to move. I covered him with a blanket, and he was burning with fever, frostbitten, and wreaked of the streets. I offered him hot coffee, but he was too weak to take even a small sip. I called EMS and stayed with him, holding him in my arms while we waited. He asked me to pray with him, so we prayed the Lord’s Prayer— but he died in my arms before the ambulance arrived. I had often thought of him, and there he was, radiantly beautiful and perfectly whole. Then out from the center of this crowd emerged a young man and a young woman, and I knew immediately they were my children.” Simon glanced over at me and smiled, and straightening the sheet on his lap, he continued. “Here they were, fully-grown and were full of such beauty that I have never seen any human being so beautiful in all my life. I immediately knew why they had died and how they had prayed for Annie and me from the moment they entered heaven. I threw my arms around them and hugged them, and after all of these years of being childless, I was at last a father! It was the best and the happiest of reunions.” He beamed a smile up at me, tears glistening in his eyes. “We spoke for a time, and then they all said good-bye and disappeared. Jesus looked at me, and His expression was so excited and joyful. He placed his arm around my shoulder and said, ‘I want you to see what I have prepared for you from the moment you were created.’” Simon broke down and sobbed, and leaning forward, he wrapped his hands over his face and wept. After a minute or so, he straightened up and wiped his eyes. “Had I any idea what was waiting for me, and how much my Lord truly loved me”— he looked up and pointed his finger at me—” I never would have let you people bring me back!” After a long time of silent tears, and a few more tissues, he lifted his head and went on.
“We were standing before a huge structure similar to our buildings, but not made from stone or brick because you could see through it. It was incredibly beautiful and shone as bright as the sun. This . . . this was my mansion!” (Then Simon quoted the biblical passage in John 14: 2, “In my Father’s house, there are many mansions . . .” and Matthew 6: 20– 21, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal . . .”) “But as I stood in front of it and looked into this immense structure, it was revealed to me that my life was the architect and the source of its construction and design. Everything that I had done during my life that was good, kind, and directed toward the good of another human being, it was all there. Every bowl of soup, every piece of bread, every blanket or an encouraging word, every tender gesture done for the love of God built and engineered it all. He rewarded to the nth degree every single thing I had done here on earth that pleased Him. I didn’t deserve any of it, to be brutally honest, but His generosity magnified my feeble efforts on earth to such a degree that I was awestruck standing before such incredible magnificence. It was beyond anything any mortal mind could remotely comprehend, and it was specific only to me. No other structure looked like mine because every soul’s life experience is unique. Your life, your gifts and graces, are different than mine and vice versa. All of my prayers, every single one that I had ever offered up to heaven were there. Prayers of praise, thanksgiving, and petition were there, and all of them in combination formed the mortar that held it all together, adorning it with such beauty that there is no way that I could begin to describe it. But the prayers that I had said for other people were the most pristine and the most ornate of its decoration. Oh, if only I had the words to tell you what it all looked like.” He bowed his head and shook it slightly as if in disbelief. He adjusted himself in the bed, reached for the cup on the over-bed table, and took another drink. “I stood there for some time trying to take it all in and kept repeating, ‘Jesus, oh, my Jesus!’ When I turned to the side and looked at Him, He had the most spectacular smile.” Simon’s voice broke again in a voice full of emotion he went on.
“He was like a father surprising a child on his birthday. He beamed with such incredible happiness, like a father watching a child open a tremendous present. I felt immediately how pleased He was at everything I had done for Him during my life. He placed His arms around me and pulled me close to Him and into my soul I heard Him say, ‘I love you!’ I melted in His embrace and was so overwhelmed with love for Him that my soul rejoiced in complete and utter praise. Incredible, spontaneous adoration sprang from my heart, so much so that I could have easily praised and adored Him for all eternity. It was all so overwhelming and exhilarating that there are simply no words to express what overtook my heart in His embrace and in His presence. The love that emanates from Him is simply indescribable and so complete that nothing, absolutely nothing, in my life that I have ever experienced comes remotely close to it. Despite feeling so immensely overwhelmed, I was absolutely and completely happy, for nothing was lacking while I was there.
You know, my wife, all my friends, my home, and everything I worked for here in this life? None of it mattered. I was completely at ease in leaving it all behind without even looking back. And my Annie, whom I love more than anyone, I was completely content to leave her behind because I was finally home, and I was absolutely fulfilled and completely happy . . . completely happy.” Simon paused, dropped his head back onto his pillow, then turned his head and looked over at the window. After a time of silence, he continued, “Ah . . . but then the worst moment came.” He reached over and placed his cup back on the table. He laid his head back on the pillow and looked up toward the ceiling. “That dreadful, awful moment when Jesus put His hand on my shoulder and told me that I had to go back.” He pulled his head up and looked down as he folded his hands together onto his lap. “I was crushed in my soul. I begged Him over and over to please let me stay, but He explained that it wasn’t my time. ‘Not yet, son, I have something more for you to do.’”
There was a long pause, and Simon readjusted his pillow. He took both hands and smoothed back the hair on his head. With a long emotional sigh, he grabbed another tissue and looked over at me. “Do you have any idea how difficult it is to be in His presence one minute and then thrust back into a body that is hooked up to machines?” He looked up past the monitor and IV poles to the window. “I felt like I’d lost everything.” He stared out the window at the sunset as copious tears melt down his face. He looked back over at me, wiped his eyes again, and said, “It was so painful to leave Him that, in that very instant, I understood completely what hell would be like. I understood that to be without Him, even for a moment, was unbearable, but forever and ever? Oh yes, that’s what hell is.” He paused for a moment and then looked up at me with such a sad expression. “You know, when you are standing in front of Jesus, it is as if the entire universe was created specifically for you. Remember all of those planets and galaxies that I had passed by on my way to heaven? I felt as if all of them were made especially for me to enjoy the beautiful imagination and the creative power of my God. In His presence, Jesus makes you feel as though everything, everything He went through when He walked the earth— His life, His death, the enormity of His wounds— it was all done just for you, and He would willingly do it again if it meant that you could be with Him for all eternity. When He looks into your eyes, He sees everything. There is nothing hidden from those beautiful eyes, and yet you don’t feel fear, or at least I didn’t. He makes you feel that you are the only one in the universe, so great is His love for you!” He reached over and patted my hand. “When Jesus told me I had to leave, I knew deep down in the depths of my soul that it was the right thing for me, but still,” he shrugged, “I had to at least try.” He smiled and continued, “I don’t know when I will see Him again, but I do know that when my body gives out, I don’t ever want to be stopped from going home to heaven.”
“Tell me, Simon, what did Jesus look like?” “He was incredible! He radiated incredible love, holiness, and absolute and perfect purity. But above all, He exudes such regal majesty that you are compelled to worship, to adore, and to love Him, as He is overwhelming and stunning in His magnificence and beauty. He is tall and completely and perfectly masculine and so wonderfully handsome. He had brown hair and the most engaging deep, beautiful eyes. I could have looked at Him and nothing else for all eternity, truly . . . for all of eternity. But He looks nothing like any artistic rendering I have ever seen on earth, as so many are almost effeminate looking. But He looked like you, like me, like that woman over there, that doctor there,” he said as he pointed toward the nurses’ station. “It is really very difficult to explain, but looking at you, I see Him. Looking at her over there and him over there, I see my Jesus. I see Him in everyone, and He’s very much a part of everyone because we were created in His image you see. You know that’s what He meant when He said, ‘Whatsoever you do to the least of these, My brothers, you did it to Me.’ Ah, yes— I see Him now in everyone, and it’s so obvious to me now that I can’t believe how blind I was before.”
“Wow, Simon, what an incredible experience! I’m glad I coerced you into sharing it with me,” I giggled at him. “That you did, Nurse Ratchet, that you did.” He smiled and squeezed my hand. Although I had so many questions I wanted to ask him, I could see that he was becoming tired. I helped Simon reposition himself on his side, tucked him in, and let him sleep. I heard him intermittently blowing his nose, staring out at the sunset through the window he faced. Two days later, Simon was weaned off his IV medications and transferred to our step-down unit, but he developed congestive heart failure. His heart was so weakened from the heart attack that he wasn’t physically capable of returning to work. He required a permanent pacemaker and an internal defibrillator. He initially refused it, but the tears of Annie softened his heart. Simon stayed a total of two weeks in the hospital, and I often stopped by his room to talk to him before work or after work. He was always so happy to see me, and he frequently told me how he longed for heaven and how he prayed constantly. We forged a wonderful friendship that continued even after he was discharged home. I was invited many times to stop by his home after work to visit him.
He and Annie lived in a small modest rancher that was simple in its décor but always immaculately clean. There was a small table that seated four near a large kitchen window that looked out over his small neatly manicured lawn and Annie’s extensive vegetable gardens. A birdbath and feeder were set outside the window that welcomed an array of local birds, which Simon said they both enjoyed watching. Annie always kept the feeders stocked, and I never saw the woman sit for long as she busied herself about the kitchen or out in her garden tending to her vegetables and flowers. When the kitchen windows were opened during the summer, the scent of lilacs and roses breezed into the kitchen. During one of our visits, Simon talked about how he shared his experience with his wife, then his friends, and finally his church. “I may not be able to work anymore, but I can still talk. If people are willing to listen and change their lives because of my experience, if I can touch even just one soul, then I’m willing to keep talking. Then my work for God is successful.” One morning, I stopped by after work, and after our usual cup of coffee, I asked him a question that had me wondering since our first meeting. “Simon, may I ask you something?” “Sure,” he said as he lowered his cup to the table. “What was that ‘something more’ that Jesus wanted you to do?” Simon sighed and said, “What my Jesus put into my heart that day was the absolute realization that God doesn’t desire that anyone go to hell. Since I’ve been back, I can’t erase the feeling of urgency that has been seared into my heart and soul. Eternity is very, very, very long, you see, and for any soul to be lost, to be permanently separated from a God who loves them so much, causes me physical pain to even think about. The soul,the human soul, is His most beloved and the most beautiful of His creations, and each and every one is so very precious to Him. The realization that many souls don’t really know Him or don’t love Him and are lost to hell forever was the main reason for my tears. I have been unable to evict it from my thoughts since my return. My task, my ‘something more to do,’ is that I must pray constantly for sinners. For their conversion, for their salvation, and to keep them from hell, and that is my task until my Jesus calls me home. Remember my mansion? Remember that the most beautiful of decorations that made it so magnificent were prayers for other people? Any and all prayer for other people is so efficacious that one small prayer may be enough to change a hardened sinner into a repentant one. Nothing is wasted when it comes to prayer. It is our most beautiful and most powerful means to bend the ear of God, because to pray for others is a sacrifice. Even though it may not seem to be a sacrifice, we sacrifice our time, we put aside our own petitions even temporarily, and ask God to help someone else. And to save just one soul from being banished from the presence of God for all eternity? Well, that is all I think about, and it fills me with such dread and such anxiety that the tears just fall out of me, and so I pray constantly. I sleep very little because it fills every minute of my day and night. Hell, that horrible place, what an awful finality! I would have much preferred to stay in heaven than be left here with this anchor tied to my heart.” He shook his head, staring down at his coffee cup. Then looking up at me, he nodded and said, “But it is a task that was asked of me directly from Jesus, a task that I agreed to and one that demands my full attention. I won’t let Him down because whatever He wants is what I want. I long with every fiber of my being to be with Him again. When my time here is done and He calls me home for good, only then will my soul be content. You see, eternity is not long enough to adore and to thank such a wonderful God. Yes, a God that would rather die on a cross than be separated from us, can you imagine? That fact alone will take forever to thank Him.”
Six months later, Annie arrived in our unit with a massive stroke. The entire right side of her brain was completely obliterated by a bleed. She arrived unconscious and on a ventilator. Simon never left her side, and we made arrangements for him to stay with her around the clock. He often stroked her hair and her face and told her, “Wait until you see it, Annie, it’s so beautiful. You go on ahead and save me a spot, I’ll see you again very soon.” Annie died twenty-four hours after she arrived in our hospital. Simon cried when she died, but he said they were tears of joy. He bent over her body, kissed her forehead, and whispered, “Oh, Annie, I will miss you, but I know where you are. Hug my Jesus for me and ask Him to come for me soon.” Simon moved about a year after Annie died to the neighboring county. There, he could be closer to his sister and her children. I received a few letters, and we spoke on the phone now and again. He related how Annie had come to him in a dream and was surrounded by the most beautiful light. He said how he ached to leave this world and to be near Jesus again. The following year, I received a letter from his sister telling me that Simon died peacefully in his sleep on Christmas Eve.
Jankowski, Kelley. An Army in Heaven (Kindle Locations 800-802). Page Publishing Inc. Kindle Edition.