I always dream in color. This time, the dream began with his face. He was older than me, 65 or 70. His hair was still thick though washed silver with time. The expression on his face was pleasant and jovial, not at all what one what one would expect of an executioner.
He delivered the message matter of factly, without malice. It was nothing personal really, he was just doing his job. It was policy to serve notice to the condemned so he told me that the night I was living was my last on earth and when the morning light dawned, I would die.
I was not in prison, but at home and I knew beyond doubt I had done no wrong. I was equally sure of the truth that it did not matter. The decision had been rendered and all that remained was to say my good-byes. How could it be that I felt no fear? A strange, palatable, but indescribable peace lay all around me. Yet, although the peace banished terror and wrapped me in comfort, sorrow remained.
My husband. My children. I knew it would not be forever, that one day we would be reunited in Paradise but I was so, so sorry to say good-bye.
“I am 13, almost 14,” my oldest son said. “and you are leaving.”
The others crowded around me and we wept. Then, I called to them, “Come to me. Let me pray for you.”
Then, the images faded and one question filled my mind, “If you knew you would die tomorrow, how would you spend your last night on earth?”
I responded without hesitation. “I would stay awake all night and pray for my children.”
I awoke suddenly and looked at my watch. It was 3:45am. The strength and weight of the dream still hung all around me. There would be no going back to sleep.
And so I prayed for my husband and I prayed for my children.
I prayed as if it were my last night on earth.
“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:14-16 NIV