In this post, Charlie continues his imagining of his own Elevator ride, inspired by our April book club book “Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds. Please be sure to read Part 1 here.
As the elevator doors slide open I see my brother Juan Elias, and he appears as he did when he was in his early twenties. Young, strong, happy, healthy and full of life. I shout out, “Johnny! Brother, you too?” I’m overjoyed to see Johnny no longer suffering from illness, sadness and depression. “No sad farewells, no tear rimmed eyes, where all is love and the soul never dies!” I hug my brother and my Mom at the same time, thinking of what the Scriptures say about our heavenly bodies.
Seeing everyone young, strong and healthy it’s so wonderful to see what awaits me too. Then, once again, the elevator slows and the button to floor number two lights up as we come to a stop.
Again, the elevator doors open and I see my oldest brother Antonio standing before me. He has a big smile on his face, he’s also young, strong and in the prime of his life. No grey hair, no wrinkles, full of joy and peace. It’s written all over his face, heaven is glorious and something we truly have to experience to understand.
I greet my brother with a joy filled, “Tony! Man, it’s so good to see you too! I love you brother and praise God all of you are together once again.” I’m overjoyed, at seeing all the members of my family together again like we once were at home in Midland, Texas, so many years ago. They’ve all made it the promised land and I hug Tony and Johnny, Mom, Dad and Julian in a group hug and for an instant, I also feel like I’m in heaven with my family. What a feeling! As we all embrace each other, I feel the elevator slowing once more I open my eyes and see the button to floor number one begin to shine and the doors open slowly.
As the doors slide open a brilliant light that’s brighter than a million suns shines into the elevator instantly making me close my eyes. As the glow dims, I open my eyes, feeling my family separate turning to face the door with me and I’m in awe of what I see.
Standing before me is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! He’s dressed in white so bright, no color like this exists on earth. He is the embodiment of peace, joy, and holiness. In an instant I comprehend what the Old Testament prophet Isaiah experienced and described in the sixth chapter of his book. I can hear in the distance the heavenly choir singing, “Holy Holy Holy! Lord God Almighty!” And I know that I’m nothing but a sinner, a man with filthy lips, unworthy to see the King of the Universe, much less have him cast His eyes upon me.
In the blink of a eye I feel as the apostle Peter felt the day Jesus called him to follow. I drop to my knees, pressing my head the floor knowing I’m in the presence of the Lord, Creator of universes and all I know is how unworthy I am to be in His presence. With my face to the floor I say, “Oh, Lord, depart from me please – I’m nothing but a sinner.” As I feel nothing but inadequacy and shame, freely weeping wishing a black hole would open up I the floor and swallow me up.
Then I feel a gentle hand touching my shoulder, and I hear the sweetest voice that I’ve ever heard in my life as the Light of the World begins to speak, ” Arise my son, your sins are washed clean, you are redeemed, you are Mine!”
With a flash of lightening the filthiness of sin is burned away and I’m filled with His love, His peace, His joy. As He lifts me to my feet, I feel my family surrounding me as they too take in Christ Jesus’ immense glory and for a moment or ten thousand years, I bask I the presence of God!