Originally posted in 2011
by Kay Frances Graves
I was just seven years old when God first made Himself known to me. My younger sister and I came across a multicolored bird, feathered in a variegation of deep iridescent emerald, ruby-red and blues. It was lying dead on the path in the West Virginia woods where we played every day. I had never ... ever ... seen a bird like this before.
After poking the poor creature with a little stick and determining that it was really dead, we decided to give it a proper burial. We covered it with a small mound of dirt on the side of the path and carefully placed wild violets around the circumference of the tiny grave.
Donna and I had been to the movies often enough to know that a prayer comes after the burial. So we knelt down before the grave, bowed our heads, and called on God. But I did not know what to say to God about this beautiful lifeless little bird.
Questions about life and death began spinning in my mind.
Suddenly the light went out in the woods.
A dark cloud covered the sun and a strong, piercing wind funneled down the path, almost blowing us away. The friendly adventurous woods we loved so much became a cold, dark, and very frightening place to be.
My prayer and thoughts about life and death had been interrupted. Where was God now?
Shivering from the frigid wind blowing through my light cotton dress, I looked upward through the tree tops toward heaven searching for Him.
At that very moment, the woods became still, I saw the sun peek out from behind the dark cloud, illuminating the spot we were standing on, warming and comforting our little bodies.
This time a different type of chill shook me to my core. Somehow I knew God was right there in the woods with us. He was telling me not to be afraid and assuring my troubled heart and mind that He would be with me always.
I took my sister's hand and we ran back to our little cabin. Through excitement and tears, I proclaimed to my mother that I had seen God. She told me not to be so upset. She said that I had quite an imagination, that I should just forget about it, stop crying, and go out and play.
But I could not forget it.
Twenty years later, after I became a Christian and read the Book of Revelation for the first time, I was shaken to my core again, after all those years when I read:
To this day, this passage in Revelation still gives me goose bumps every time I read it. The similarity to my childhood experience in the woods in West Virginia that day could not be overlooked.
The description regarding what the writer of this passage in the Book of Revelation saw and heard made me realize that God wanted me to know that He held the answers to my question-filled prayer about death.
Kay Frances Graves