“After you die,
You will meet God.”
The large letters of the billboard almost screamed at me when I drove north on Interstate 69.
“After you die, you will meet God” was the text in foot-high white letters against an ominous black background.
The billboard cited Hebrews chapter 9, verse 27, which according to the New International Version Bible, reads “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”
Was the giant advertisement meant as a threat? Or a promise?
Either way, the public pronouncement was curious, because I’ve known God all my life, and She is awesome. I also know her Son.
She knew me when I was “knit together” in my mother’s womb, pieces of my parent’s DNA.
She was with me when I breathed my first breath. As my mom slept from the 1950s Twilight Sleep anesthesia, God watched my father hold me for the first time. Dad examined me from head to toe, hoping not to find a club foot identical to the one he had at birth. She shared in his joy over my perfectly fat ankles and feet.
We formalized our relationship a month later with the Rite of Holy Baptism. She was present as my parents, my maternal grandmother, and my paternal aunt stood around the baptismal font at the same altar where my parents married two years before. She was present when I married there 27 years later.
She and I have had a good run for nearly sixty trips around the sun. She’s always been there for me – during the dark times when our son was diagnosed with autism or when my mother suffered and passed from dementia. When I’ve ignored Her, She has still been right by my side, listening, watching, caring, loving, advising. She has provided strength to me on days when I didn’t even know she was doing so.
Perhaps you are confused as I was by the billboard. But here’s the real deal. You don’t need to wait to meet Her.
She’s all around you.
Look inside yourself – you will find Her in your heart, in the deepest very goodness of your soul where love abounds.
Look at those around you – do you see and feel their love? You can catch a glimpse of Her in a newborn’s eyes, or a child’s laughter, or the women washing dishes after a church dinner. She is the man who stops to change your flat tire. She is the one working tirelessly at the homeless shelter. She is advocating for Syrian refugees with her weekend fundraiser at the grocery story. She is the junior high child on the bus standing up to the bully. She is driving in the car with you, and She is with your friends and your enemies.
Look at the beauty around you – the first buds of the spring flowers coming up, the dogwoods, azaleas, and redbuds. The daffodils that poke up from the cold earth — even when there is snow on the ground — offer the hopeful truth of Her presence.
She has many names; She is our mother, our father, the divine masculine, the divine feminine. She is the One who gave us the Prince of Peace, the one who gave us Abraham, with whom we share many faiths.
Call Her name. She will answer, but you must listen. She is already there.
Amy McVay Abbott is an Indiana writer who pens “A Healthy Age” and “The Raven Lunatic” for Senior Wire News Service. She is the author of four books and lives online at www.amyabbottwrites.com.