The Palm Sunday I Was With the Angels in the Hospital – Part 1
A Testimony of the Comfort of the Holy Spirit in Troubled Times
Ever wonder if God speaks today?* If so, read on.
28 After telling this story, Jesus went on toward Jerusalem, walking along ahead of his disciples. 29 As they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany, on the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples ahead, 30 with instructions to go to the next village, and as they entered they were to look for a donkey tied beside the road. It would be a colt, not yet broken for riding.
“Untie him,” Jesus said, “and bring him here. 31 And if anyone asks you what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs him.’”
32 They found the colt as Jesus said, 33 and sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners demanded an explanation.
“What are you doing?” they asked. “Why are you untying our colt?”
34 And the disciples simply replied, “The Lord needs him!” 35 So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw some of their clothing across its back for Jesus to sit on.
36-37 Then the crowds spread out their robes along the road ahead of him, and as they reached the place where the road started down from the Mount of Olives, the whole procession began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles Jesus had done.
38 “God has given us a King!” they exulted. “Long live the King! Let all heaven rejoice! Glory to God in the highest heavens!”
The Peace of Christ
The peace of Christ is often most palpable in the life of the believer at the most pivotal, poignant moments of our lives. At times of emotional distress, we pray more. We also often ask others to pray for us. As we press into God and draw nearer to Him in times of desperation, He inevitably draws nearer to us. James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
And so it was for me, on Palm Sunday, April 13, 2003. That was the day I was with the angels in the hospital. That was fifteen years ago and I’ve never written about it until now. It’s time to share my story. I hope it encourages your faith this Holy Week.
Day 1: Friday April 11, 2003
Quiet Time on my 1st Spiritual Birthday
On the early morning of April 11, 2003, I got out of bed before my two young daughters awoke, to read my Bible and pray, as usual. It was a day that turned out to be anything but ‘usual,’ but I didn’t know that at the time. Cup of coffee, Bible, pen and journal in hand, I retreated to my prayer chair in our spare bedroom before dawn for some precious quiet time of personal devotions. Half awake, I am always grateful to be able to “pray in the Spirit”, as Saint Paul suggests. In Romans 8:26-27 he wrote, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Paul refers to this form of prayer elsewhere in the New Testament as a “prayer language” or the personal prayer use of the gift of other tongues).
As I prayed quietly in my prayer language, I got a sudden, distinct and unusual impression. I was directed to an unfamiliar Bible passage in 1 Corinthians 3:15 and the words “He himself will be saved…” were illuminated in my heart. For no apparent reason, the Holy Spirit was speaking to me about my Dad, for whom I had been praying for an assurance of salvation for some time. He was a great man, but reticent to discuss matters of faith, so I wanted to be sure. As far as I knew that early morning, he was physically fine. He and my mother lived in Wisconsin, and I lived in Minnesota, so we saw each other infrequently but usually talked weekly. He was getting older, and like all of my family members, I prayed for each one to be saved. I also prayed many times that I would have an awareness and certainty of each of their salvations (decisions to put their own faith in Jesus Christ thereby brining them eternal life in heaven when they died) before they died. Because I had not been particularly thinking of my Dad recently, it struck me as important that the Holy Spirit should bring it to mind that morning. I made a specific note about it in my prayer journal. In addition, an unusually palpable peace surrounded me that morning as I prayed. It was the tangible, manifest presence of the Holy Spirit.
The Busy Day
The quiet of my house soon turned into another busy day as the mom of two young daughters, then aged 2 and 5. It included breakfast, running to pre-school and organizing the household. I also prepared for a large group of women friends who I had invited to my home to host a luncheon. That was a special day because it was my first ‘spiritual birthday party.’ I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior the previous year on April 11, 2002. Although I had grown up in a church attending home, I myself had no depth of faith until I was suddenly converted to Christ as an adult, after a near death experience. (You can read that testimony on my website at https://janetdecaster.com/about ) I marked the anniversary by having my Christian women friends over to pray and celebrate my new life in Christ.
The Phone Call
Later that afternoon, my sister called. She was understandably upset and explained that our Dad had had a massive heart attack and was hospitalized in our hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Dad was 78 and Mom was 74 at that time. I was shocked and called a few of the same friends who’d been at my home earlier asking them to pray. Then I made hurried plans for the care of my kids, booked a plane flight and headed for the airport.
On the Airplane
That evening I found myself upset, overwhelmed and emotionally numb as I settled into an airplane seat. As we took off, I was suddenly reminded to look into my prayer journal which I had brought with me, along with my Bible. I was shocked to find on its pages, the notes I had made about the peaceful assurance of my Dad’s salvation which I had received in the pre-dawn hours of the same morning. In my flustered state, I had completely forgotten about the revelation I’d received earlier that day. As I re-read what I’d written, the total comfort of the Holy Spirit wrapped around me like a warm, reassuring, invisible blanket. I felt no matter what happened, everything would be okay.
Day 2: Saturday, April 12, 2003
My four siblings and I all made it home and took turns being with our mother at the hospital. Our Dad’s condition was grave; he was in a coma. I knew what the facts were, but having experienced a miraculous healing myself the previous year, I was still holding out hope for a physical healing. Rarely are we ever ready to lose our parents, and I was no exception. I prayed and asked many others to pray. I had several precious times with my Dad alone in the hospital room. During those times I experienced an incredible, palpable peace. Psalms and hymns from my childhood came back to me from memory, and I had wonderful times talking with my Dad, even though he couldn’t respond. I particularly thanked him for being a wonderful Dad and bringing me to church as a child. Even though I didn’t come fully to faith until my adult years, I told him how much I appreciated the foundation that childhood church attendance had laid in my life. I remembered him holding my little girl’s hand in his big, strong hand and moving it slowly along the words of an old hymnal as a child. He and my Mom had made sure I was in Sunday school each week, and church attendance wasn’t optional. For that and so much more, I said thank you.
Vision of Angels
As I silently prayed in the hospital room, I had a very vivid and unusual visionary experience. Although I didn’t see it with my physical eyes, I could see, in my mind’s eye, two very large, holy angels standing at the head of my Dad’s hospital bed. They were physically invisible, but spiritually visible, and I had a special spiritual gift to be allowed to see them that day. (For Biblical references to such experiences see: 2 Kings 6:17, Matthew 1:20-24) They were very tall and very bright. Their clothes looked like lightning and I could see an outline of their forms. I was dumbstruck and sat unmoving for a very long time. I heard nothing except the sound of the ventilator my Dad was hooked to. As I quietly contemplated it, I marveled at what God was showing me. It was so real and very clear. I knew I was in the presence of God’s holy angels, and God had allowed me to perceive their presence, in order to give me further peace. I told no one about the experience, but I wrote it in my journal. Who would believe me anyway?
Phone Message from God
Later that day, I received a message on my cell phone from a woman at my church in Minnesota. I was barely acquainted with her, but she had gotten my number from a mutual friend at church. In it she re-introduced herself and said that she had a sudden, distinct impression to pray for me that whole day and the previous day. She said while deeply in prayer she saw a vision of a man lying in a hospital bed and two large angels on the right and the left side of the bed. She said she didn’t know what I was going through, but thought it was important to share. Of course, I was flabbergasted, shocked and overjoyed all at the same time! A virtual stranger, who had no idea what I was experiencing, was directed to pray for me, and with no earthly knowledge of my circumstance, she had seen an exact replica of the situation in the hospital room, including the placement of the angels! You can imagine what that did to my faith and hope level.
Throughout the day, the news from the doctors went from bad to worse. They tested my Dad for brain activity and knew his heart damage was extensive. We all went to bed at my mother’s home that night wondering what the next day would hold and fearing the worst.
TO BE CONTINUED on Part 2
* For more Biblical teaching and testimonies about the gifts and guidance of the Holy Spirit check out my book, GOD SPEAKS: The Guidance of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts & Today, available on my website at https://janetdecaster.com