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By Dr. Bascom Ratliff

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches

Freeda had been a devout Christian her whole life. She had noticed during the past year that she was slowing down. She still attended church. She helped the ladies when she could. But, for whatever reason she didn’t have the energy or the stamina to serve the Lord as she had done in the past.

It was a windy Thursday morning when she checked her mail and noticed a plain postcard telling her that Gabriel was coming to see her. She thought “this is a gimmick” and threw the card in the trash.

The next morning as she was making coffee, she noticed the postcard had somehow made its way back on the counter. She was puzzled and flipped it over to read the message once more. The message was clear. “Gabriel is coming.” Her next thought was, “Is this Gabriel the angel?”

This message got her attention. She called her son. She called her pastor. She called her friend Betty. All of them seem to discount the message because God doesn’t communicate with postcards.

Freeda did not sleep well that night. The next morning when she woke up, she was anxious and a bit scared. She called her friend Betty to come over for coffee and sat down to wait for the day's events.

A few minutes after her first cup of coffee, there was a knock on the door. She thought it might be Betty coming early, but when she answered the door she discovered that her visitor was a young woman in a bright yellow pantsuit. Her hair was dyed a bright pink and she wore a large pearl necklace with matching earrings.

The woman introduced herself as Gabriel.

“Freeda I am here to help you get ready for a visit from the great “I AM”. God has seen your good works and is pleased with your faithfulness. He wants to talk.”

Freeda was a little skeptical.

“Pardon me, but you don’t look like an angel. Do you have an ID or proof of some kind?”

Gabriel said nothing. She simply reached out and held Freeda’s hand. In that moment Freeda’s aches and pains vanished. There was no more arthritis. Fears and doubts were gone. She knew this was God's angel.

Gabriel talked with Freeda about God. She talked to her about her church and friends. She told her that God had heard her prayers and answered them. Freeda had a lot of questions. She asked about her mom and dad who had passed away many years ago. She asked about heaven. “Can Skip and Roy, my dogs, be with me in heaven?” It seemed the more questions she asked the more questions she had. Gabriel was patient and answered all of her questions.

Finally, Freeda got up enough courage to ask her the real question on her mind. Why was she here? What does God want?

Gabriel answered, “Freeda, are you ready to come home? When you feel you are ready to talk about coming home God will visit.” With that, Gabriel left.

Freeda had thought she was working for God but after talking with the angel she was unsure. She had a lot of stuff to do. She had made promises to the church women. She had made promises to the pastor. When she thought about it, she realized that she had made a lot of promises to a lot of people about a lot of stuff. This had been a recurring theme with her, making too many commitments. Now she was faced with a dilemma. Was she ready to accept God’s invitation? Was she ready to leave?

That night, Freeda had a dream. In the dream, God gently reminded her of all that she had done for his kingdom. She saw herself at all the bake sales, church dinners, and fundraisers that she had participated in over the years. She also caught a glimpse of future fundraisers and events that she had promised to participate in. Throughout all this, she felt God was continuing to remind her that she was well loved and needed in heaven.

She remembered thinking briefly, why would God need me in heaven when he has 10,000 angels at his disposal. She thought this might have been a time when God misspoke. However, it gave her food for thought.

The next day she prayed and read. God had suggested that it was time for her to come home. But was she ready to say goodbye to her church and friends?

After all, she had lived most of her life with the anticipation of going to heaven and re-connecting with friends and family. She was in conflict about departing the earth.

After much prayer and anguish, Freeda’s faith and hope were firm. I am God’s child, she thought. I trust him. I’m ready. With that, she laid down and fell asleep.


If you want to hear more about God’s wonderful promise of unfailing love and enjoy a great morning of music and worship, please come and worship with us.

We will worship at the Parker UMC during January & April & July & October 2023.

We will worship at the Beagle UMC during February & May & August & November 2023.

We will worship at the Fontana UMC during March & June & September 2023.

All services are at 10 a..

We offer communion on the first Sunday of each month.

(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

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