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That Great Waking-up Morning

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice. John 5:28. 

In 2003 a young man (whom I'll call Jerry) suddenly uttered the word “Mom” after being in a coma for 19 years! Comatose since an auto accident in 1984, he at last “returned” to his astounded and delighted family by responding to things he heard them say. Though still a quadriplegic because of the accident, Jerry gained in speaking ability as the days went by. However, he still thought he was living in 1984, even though several presidents had come and gone, and elderly family members had passed away. Being none the wiser, Jerry was focused on the past.

Several months ago my 85-year-old mother slipped into a coma and died a day later. As Jerry did, she will soon hear a voice—but hers will be the joyful call of Jesus on that great Resurrection morning. She too will wake up. Oh, she may briefly recall the last few days of her life prior to becoming comatose. She may entertain a fleeting memory of her last visit to the doctor’s office in a stretcher borne by a medical transport vehicle. She may remember the frightful loss of her ability to swallow near the end.  She may even remember family members holding her and telling her how much they loved her before she slipped into unconsciousness. Yet she won’t stay focused on the past for very long—not with all the activity going on about her!

Imagine her squinting against the brilliance of the bright cloud, that vast cloud of numberless angels reaping a harvest of both the living and the resurrected (1 Thess. 4:16-18). Imagine her staring in amazement at her own youthful arms, wrapped around the neck of a powerful angel, bearing her upward toward the seated King! Imagine her unspeakable joy at being reunited with her husband whom she outlived by only a year and a half, or at seeing her father, whom she lost to cancer when she was only 16. Mother won’t have time to dwell on the past, because the eternally joyful present will have burst so suddenly and so definitively upon her. 

Yes, we can imagine the joyful frenzy of the preceding scenes. We can do so because the Bible tells us to “marvel not,” for on that day the dead who died in Him will hear God’s voice and come forth from their graves to a “resurrection of life” (John 5:28, 29). I can hardly wait!                                                                                        

Carolyn Rathbun Sutton

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