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Heaven Sightings: Angels, Miracles, and Glimpses of the Afterlife
by James Stuart Bell
Learn More | Meet James Stuart Bell
How often do you think about heaven? Do you consider how all of life’s problems will cease and you will enjoy intimate fellowship with God in a glorious paradise forever and ever? Perhaps those thoughts are impacted by the state of your earthly journey and your understanding of scriptural descriptions of the eternal state of bliss with the Trinity, the heavenly hosts, and the body of Christ. However, heaven is not merely a future state, but a reality that interpenetrates our own daily existence.
We need fresh eyes, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to receive glimpses of heaven in our midst. The closest example to heaven itself may be a near-death experience where some fortunate person gets a glimpse of heaven itself but then returns to his or her body and earthly existence. The perspective of anyone who has had this experience is forever changed. But there are so many other types of heavenly sightings that God makes available to us, if we have the spiritual eyes to see.
The healing of relationships, miraculous financial provision, physical healings, and close encounters with Jesus and angels in times of desperation all point to the heavenly reality in our midst, even if we only get a fleeting glimpse. These examples and many more are meant to be stimulants to our faith and comforts along life’s arduous journey. We all need to pray for grace to see the miracles that we tend to either explain away or take for granted in our daily lives.
Here is a volume of testimonies to God’s divine intervention where it really matters, where we need a miracle or we will fail, lose, or even die. God will come through when we need Him most. The Lord will meet you in your time of need, both in the small details and in the gravest of situations. I pray that you are inspired by the variety of God’s distinct supernatural actions in each of these stories and will come to the recognition that God will use whatever means necessary to work on your behalf in all areas of your earthly life. May you have “heaven sightings” of His faithfulness and receive divine intervention constantly for your good.
- James Stuart Bell
Wanda J. Burnside
I loved being a primary school teacher. Each year my classroom was filled with a group of energetic first-graders. As their teacher, I had to be ready to swing into action, too.
Every day, I strived to provide interesting activities and lessons for my young students. I spent my evenings working on projects to keep those young minds thrilled about learning.
Well, that wasn’t all that I had to do. I was, and am, a wife, housekeeper, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, and community worker, too. And at that time, I was very involved with the care and concerns of my aging parents.
Yet something strange was happening to me. I felt burned out so quickly. I had to press on and make myself do everything. I began to feel as if I were climbing a mountain when I walked up stairways. Walking to our car in the parking lot was like crossing a wide terrain. It took me longer and longer to do simple chores like fixing dinner, shopping, and doing housework. Teaching became more of a struggle than fun.
I never complained, but my husband, Simmie, noticed my emotions and attitudes were changing. I got the work done, but I had little energy. Simmie often said, “Wanda, stop overdoing it. You need to quit doing everything!”
“I’m not doing everything! I’ll cut back,” I said. But I felt tired most of the time.
Soon my mom noticed my sluggishness. I love Thanksgiving with my family and close friends. I enjoy cooking the food, decorating the house, and baking the pies; I love everything about Thanksgiving. However, that year I wasn’t excited about Thanksgiving.
Happily, we had a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner with loads of food at our family gathering. I got through Thanksgiving without any weakness. I was even blessed to make it through Christmas and pressed right into the new year without any problems.
However, in early spring, I began to feel the weariness again. That was when I decided to call my doctor and make an appointment. The receptionist asked me why I needed to see the doctor; I said I felt tired all of the time.
“I see,” she said. “Well, let me check and see if you can come in and see the doctor earlier than normal.” She placed me on hold. “Mrs. Burnside, what about coming in next Wednesday?” she asked.
“I’m teaching, but I can come in,” I replied. I wondered if something was seriously wrong with me.
It was a beautiful day when Simmie and I went to the doctor’s office. I felt peppy. The waiting room wasn’t crowded as I checked in with the receptionist. She told me to come on back to see the doctor. I glanced back at Simmie. Within minutes the nurse and my doctor came into the examination room to see me. Zip and zap, the testing was over.
“Mrs. Burnside, I suspect you need a blood transfusion,” my doctor said. “The testing done here shows your blood levels are too low. I want you to go to the lab for more bloodwork. Please get dressed; I’ll have your paperwork sent over to the lab. Uh, if I’m diagnosing this correctly, it’s a miracle that you are still alive . . . you will need a complete blood transfusion, I am sure. No matter what, I’ll call you when the results of your bloodwork come in . . . tomorrow or in the next few days,” he said.
“Will I make it? Is it serious?” I asked him.
“Well, yes . . . but, we can do something about it,” he said, looking over my charts.
Simmie and I went to the lab on our way home so I could have the lab work done. Then we called my parents.
Mom was shocked, but Dad said, “We’ll just pray. God knows. He will take care of it. We have to put everything in His hands.”
When the doctor called, he said the tests confirmed his diagnosis. I needed the blood transfusion immediately because I had barely enough blood to function. He instructed me to come in for one last test so he could make sure that the right blood would be stored for my transfusion.
The day I was scheduled to come in for the last observation was changed because of technical problems with the main machine. Then I got another phone call from the doctor’s office stating that they were frantic because they couldn’t locate my files. Finally the files were found, and I was asked to come to the hospital early the next morning.
While Simmie waited, I was led to an examination room.
“Hello, Mrs. Burnside! It has been hard getting you back in here,” said the technician as he walked into the room. “I see here that all kinds of things have happened. Your files missing, machine broke down, and a few other mishaps.” He chuckled.
“Yes, that’s right,” I responded.
“Well, just sit there . . . I’ll be back,” he said, walking out the door.
I sat on the examination table and looked around the bright room. The door opened slowly, and a peaceful-looking woman peeked in and smiled at me. She had golden hair that glistened in the bright lights.
She stepped in, looked at me, and said, “Wanda, Wanda.” Her voice was low, gentle, and calming. It was as if she were singing my name. She wore a soft pink uniform and had a fluffy white sweater around her shoulders. Six small gold angels adorned the shoulders of her sweater. Wow, she must really like angels, I thought.
She moved closer to me and smiled. Her eyes twinkled behind her golden-framed glasses. “I am here to take away this bag of blood. I must get it out of here . . . this minute!” Her voiced changed. It was as if she had a command to do this.
“Okay,” I said.
She slipped over to a box and removed the bag of blood.
She held it close to her eyes and read the label. Then she stepped over to me. “This is wrong. You cannot have it!” She stared at me. My skin tingled. She held on tightly to the bag and backed her way over to the door while she continued to look at me.
Her eyes sparkled like stars in the dark night sky, but her mouth was firm and tight. She looked up at the ceiling, nodded her head, and then smiled brightly.
“Wanda . . . Wanda . . .” she said in a soft whisper. “I must leave! And this blood must go now. You are all right.”
She carried the large bag of deep brownish-red blood out of my room with both of her hands.
I watched her go into the hallway of the hospital. She talked to another nurse, and they both walked quickly down the hallway. Just as they disappeared from my view, the technician walked in.
“Sorry I took so long. I was checking on a few things,” he said. He walked to the box on the table and looked inside of it. “Where is your bag of blood? Where is it, Mrs. Burnside?” he demanded. Then his voice rose and he shouted, “Mrs. Burnside, did you get into this box?”
“No! The other nurse came in and got it!”
“What nurse? Who? Where is she?” he shouted.
“She just passed you in the hallway!” I said, my eyes filling with tears. It was stressful enough knowing that I had to have the transfusion without a man screaming at me!
“What hallway?” he yelled.
“This one . . . right there . . . you just passed her . . . a moment ago!”
“I saw nobody!” he shouted. He ran out of the room and looked around. He came back into my room. He ran out again. By this time, nurses were running around . . . and doctors, too!
The technician told them what had happened. The intercom blasted a warning signal. I heard, “All security be on watch . . . missing blood! Missing blood! Security, report to the third floor!”
In moments, the police, security officers, doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel filled the area with chaos.
Then, my blood technician came back into my room. He looked at me and said, “Mrs. Burnside, I need you to describe who came in here when I left.”
I said, “There was a short nurse with golden hair and glasses. She was dressed in a pink uniform and wore a white sweater with lots of tiny gold angel pins on her shoulders. She smiled so . . .”“Wait! We don’t wear that color uniform in this unit. Look into the hallway. We don’t dress like that!” he stated.
I looked into the hallway and saw medical personnel in green or gray uniforms. But while I was looking into the hallway, I saw more nurses with that pink uniform. They were busy around the unit desk.
“There they are!” I pointed into the hallway. “Look!”
The technician said, “I don’t see them . . . where?” He shook his head and got his charts, then went into the hallway to talk to the police officers. Several of them came into my room to speak to me. I explained what happened. They questioned me more.
Suddenly, a very tall police officer came and asked the others to come with him. The police left. Then the tall officer came back with the nurse in pink! She said, “Wanda, that blood was contaminated. It would kill you. It was the wrong blood. We were sent to save your life and others on this unit. We must go. God is with you!”
I raised my hands and cried out, “Oh . . . Lord! Thank you! Thank you for saving my life! Thank you for protecting me!”
I opened my eyes when I heard angry voices in the hallway. There was a huge, thunderous discussion outside of my room. “No! No! That delivery truck was not supposed to bring that shipment of blood here. It is all contaminated with HIV! Yes! Yes! That is the highest level of contaminated . . . HIV blood bags . . . in this city! The orders were to dispose of it at . . .”
Then someone slammed my room’s door shut. Next, someone came in and told me to leave and that my doctor would call me the next day. They apologized for the disturbance.
Strangely enough, when I stepped out of the room, Simmie was standing there. He asked me what was going on. Then he said that the televisions in the lobby said that there was a citywide emergency because a truckload of highly contaminated blood went to one of the local hospitals.
He took my hand. Then he said, “Wanda, did . . .”
I cried, “God saved my life! His angels came and encamped around me!”
Instead of going home, we stopped by my parents’ home and told them what happened. Over dinner we all praised God together.
I had my blood transfusion, an eight-hour procedure, within days. My attending nurse wore golden angel pins on her sweater, too.
Although we go through great trials, we can be assured that Psalm 91 is true. And we can trust Psalm 34:7: “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”
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