A “Godwink” This Morning
If you have attended our conferences in recent years (e.g., at Sweetwater, Tennessee; at First Covenant Church in Irving, Texas in December 2009, or in Manassas, Virginia) then you know that I sometimes proceed through the audience at some point to take snapshots of the attendees. (I am careful to ask permission for those who prefer not to be photographed.) Almost all consent because, as I have explained, they are not for publication or for “sharing.” I put them on my offline computers and set the screen saver to exhibit them sequentially after a minute of screen inactivity. It helps me to put faces to the names that I see frequently on our mailing lists.
Some of you may remember meeting Jacqueline “Jackie” Armstrong at our Manassas Conference in the spring of 2009. She was the petite lady from Canada who was wheelchair-bound. For about 20 years she had suffered from a progressively degenerative, neuromuscular disease of some sort. It was not cerebral palsy—and I cannot remember what the precise name for her condition was.
Two days ago, while out of town, I received an email from Bev, one of Jackie’s close friends informing me that Jackie had passed away in November. Even knowing of her fragile condition, I was stunned and saddened for our loss. Jackie was truly a treasure in an earthen vessel and I and many who knew of her sweet spirit and of her great trust in our Father’s Plan and sovereignty take solace in knowing we will see her some day in her glorified body.
Bev further informed me that Jackie had left instructions for autographed copies of my book, Sacred Secrets of the Sovereignty of God, to be sent to individuals in Canada and the United Kingdom.
I called Bev last evening and we spoke a while of our departed friend and then about the details of shipping my books. I told her I would get back to her today regarding shipping costs.
As I went out to my front office to instruct my assistant, I asked first if the monthly mailing had gone out to the international mailing list yet, because we needed to remove Jackie’s name from the list now. My assistant looked up and said, “I was just stuffing the envelope as you told me.” Okay, a little “coincidence,” right?
I then told her to prepare the mailings for the recipients in Canada and the UK. As I turned on my heels to walk back to my inner office, there was the photo of Jackie on the screen saver of the computer in my assistant’s work area! Each photo remains only about five seconds and then it shows the next in line, so by the time I caught my breath, the next photo was displayed. I said to my assistant, “Did you see that!? We were just talking about Jackie and there was her photo!”
What are the odds of that? Considering that the screen saver cycles through not only the various hundreds of conference photos, but through thousands of photos of my extended family, plus travel photos and all sorts of other photos, well, you do the math. But that’s not all. Many times when the screen saver is operating and I want to see a particular photo a bit longer, all one needs to do is hit the back arrow on the keyboard and it shuffles back to the previous picture. Then, after five seconds, the screen saver continues forward again.
So at the moment that I had exclaimed, “Did you see that?,” I also hit the back arrow and there was Jackie’s picture, as expected. What was not expected was what happened next. As my assistant and I continued talking about Jackie, it suddenly occurred to me that the picture had not changed, and it was now well over two minutes! The screen saver had “gotten stuck” on her picture—which is bizarre since it had never happened before on any of my computers!
And I cannot get the computer in question to do it again! Nor can I get any of my other computers to get stuck on a picture. So what do I make of it? Jackie herself had once shared with me some bizarre stories that she had either witnessed or been involved in. One which comes to mind—but only in the general outline involved the supernatural teleportation of a lost object.
So what do I think happened? Well, one thing I do not believe is that it was Jackie or her “ghost” causing her photo to first “coincidentally” appear at that very moment or that she caused the screen to get stuck on her picture.
The Bible teaches that the soul (the mind, will, emotions, personality) goes out of existence at death, and that the spirit returns to God. Therefore, I do not believe that her “spirit” is “earthbound,” or any such nonsense as that. I conclude that this was a little sign from our heavenly Father as though to acknowledge that “she is resting with Me now,” until the time of resurrection. So thank you, Father, for the wink. We were privileged to know this precious saint!