My friends from South Africa were thrilled to have a few days to relax and enjoy some family time away from home in the mountains of the Western Cape. The get-away provided a much-needed rest for Willem, a pastor, and Janine, a teacher, three months pregnant with their third child. Retreating for spiritual and physical refreshment, a sensory smorgasbord of smells, sights, and sounds of the beautiful Bainskloof Pass were exactly what the doctor ordered. They also cherished time with their children, Kiara (4) and Kiran (2) before adjusting to the new addition.
Willem was awakened by Janine in the early hours of the morning. She feared she was having a miscarriage. They hurriedly gathered up the children, placed them in the back seats of the van, giving Janine the middle seat on which to comfortably lie down. Willem and Janine had learned to turn to the Lord Jesus in the storms of life through prayer. As they made the trip to the nearest hospital, their troubled hearts drew near to the throne of grace for help, comfort, and wisdom.
To the best of their ability, as God gave them grace, they trusted Him with the life of this dear one who had already found a special place in their hearts. By this time they were fairly certain that Janine had miscarried due to the significant loss of blood. About an hour into the trip down the mountain, as the new day dawned, Willem suddenly could hear a choir of angels singing. It wasn’t audible like the way we understand audible, but it was as if the singing was impressed onto his ear. It was unmistakable. Angels were singing, “We give You all the glory! For You alone are worthy!” Over and over again they sang their praise to God. The presence of the Lord of life filled the van, as Willem’s fears and concerns where drowned out by the praise of the celestial choir. After a few minutes, the singing ceased, and his heart filled with praise to the Lord. Willem took it as a sure sign that God was with them in their trial and grief. He kept this comforting reality in his heart and wondered at the complete meaning of all he had just heard. He remembered that God the Father had also lost a child when Jesus had died on the cross. He was not alone in his loss.
Once they arrived at the hospital, they were surrounded with a bustle of activity as the emergency room caregivers kicked into action. It didn’t take long for the doctor to confirm that indeed, Janine had miscarried. Safety procedures for her were necessarily performed, and late in the afternoon, she was released. During one of the times when Willem and Janine were alone in the ER, he told her about what he had heard and how God had comforted him. He encouraged her with the same words of praise and worship of Jesus Christ which he heard from the angels. He even recalled the general location where the experience occurred. They took advantage of the opportunity to be alone by praising and thanking the Lord for His comforting presence and the grace to accept His will. Janine was finally released from the hospital and they began their trek back to the cabin in the mountains.
A few days later they took the children on an outing, driving the same route they had taken to the hospital a few days earlier. When they were at the exact same place where Willem had heard the angels sing, Kiara, their four-year-old, suddenly asked, “Can you guys hear the angels singing?”
Willem and Janine were completely taken aback. Looking at each with great surprise, Willem glanced back and asked, “Are you hearing angels singing right now, Kiara?”
“Yes!” she replied.
“What are they singing?” Willem asked.
The previous day Kiara had played with the Bible App for Kids on his smartphone and had come across a story where angels were worshiping Jesus and singing, “We give You all the glory. For You alone are worthy.” Kiara replied, “They’re singing like the angels in that story!”
You can imagine their amazement. He had told only Janine about what he had heard. It was as if heaven opened over them in the van and overshadowed them with the presence of the Lord at that location, ministering comfort and grace. Slowly it began to make sense that God had let them participate in heaven’s reception party as their child passed from this earthly realm into eternal glory with Christ. The comfort and encouragement were beyond words!
I’m convinced that Willem’s and Janine’s initial response of drawing near to the throne of grace and holding onto what they believed about Jesus Christ put them in the position to receive such a glorious visitation of the Lord in the midst of their pain and loss. We read in Hebrews 4:14-16, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” They drew near to Jesus’ throne room in prayer and praise, and became participants with all the saints of God who have access to the throne of God through the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Will you join Willem, Janine, and me in worship and praise before the throne of grace? Perhaps you are going through a very difficult time in your marriage, family, or at work. When we draw near to His throne in praise and worship, we place ourselves in a position to experience the blessings that come from the presence of the Lord. Revelation 5:11-14 describes exactly what we are doing when we worship Jesus like this.
“Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.’ And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’ And the four living creatures kept saying, ‘Amen.’ And the elders fell down and worshiped.”