A/N: Those of you who read my other stories, know that this is not really fan fiction - though it is fiction. This little story was inspired by a young women in our church choir who was dying of cancer in her late twenties. God just dropped this into my lap as a way to deal with the sadness I felt over what she was facing. I could cite scripture as the basis, but to be honest, I don't want to claim any kind of Biblical authority, since I'm writing of the God of my heart more than the God of the Bible.
Sent From Heaven
Many human years ago in Heaven, God sought out one of his precious children. She was a carefree spirit who was loving and giving, and she spent hours listening to the choirs and singing with the birds. God approached as He always did, with a soft step and a calm, patient, observing nature that missed nothing around him.
When she noticed, she smiled and rushed to His side and they hugged warmly. She looked at Him with open innocence and love, and He beheld her with love and pleasure. No words needed to be spoken, and often they met in just such a way, with silent communication and a joyful exchange of love.
But this time the Father spoke to her in words. "It's time for you to go, young one."
She looked at Him with questioning eyes, reluctantly understanding His message. "But I don't want to leave you!" She pleaded, holding Him tightly once again.
"Dear one, I know you well and I know that you need to go and learn. It is time for you to be tested, and to grow in wisdom." He pulled her arms from around Him and held her hands in His. "I know you don't want to go, but you must go since it's your turn; you're ready. You know that I will watch over you always, even when you are apart from me."
"But why do I have to go to Earth? It's a bad place and I will miss you too much! Don't you love me as much as I love you?" She fell at his feet with rare and unexpected tears in her eyes.
He gently lowered himself to the ground beside her and held her close, patiently soothing her tears. "Hush my child, you know this is how it is, ever since the first choice was made. You've seen the world, I've heard you singing with them and laughing with their games, it's not so bad. And of course I love you, you don't really doubt that do you?"
"No father, I'm sorry...but the world really IS a bad place! I've seen so much sadness...and pain, and suffering, and the selfish ones, and..."
"Hush child." His words were firm but gentle, then He sighed deeply and looked her in the eyes. "I created the world. It was beautiful and perfect when it was new. And the first man was such a joy to me! We could walk together in silence, or talk for hours about the color of the sunset or the way a mouse twitches it's tail. Oh, and the first woman...she was amazing! She was the perfect counterpart to the man; beautiful, strong, wise, but soft, empathetic and gentle as well. I loved them so much...I still do." He smiled wistfully.
"So what happened? How did it change, and why don't you go walking with them anymore?" She looked at Him with all the inquisitiveness and innocence of a young child.
"Sin happened." A pained look crossed his face, and it's depth caused her to look away. "Ah child, I know you don't understand the word, you just know it's bad. It's a very small word for a very big mistake. Some say it was about eating forbidden fruit, and some say it was about being tempted by the enemy, but that's not it. You see love, I made the world, and it was perfect. I engineered the dust on the butterfly's wings, I spun the first spider's web, I made the whales in the oceans, I caused the seasons, and I crafted the mountains...no, not all at once as men understand it, but I did it in my time.
"I enjoyed the Earth, and I wanted to share it, so I created Man. Not just another animal, Man was to be different...more like me, with thoughts that went above the instinct of animals. I gave them the capacity to learn and love, and see beyond their day to day existence. They were able to ask questions, and find the answers, and influence the world around them. I was proud of them and I loved them so much!
"I gave them everything. I fed them and cared for them and kept them safe, and there was nothing I would have denied them. I spent time with them, and I loved letting them master the world around them. I delighted in the names they gave to the animals, and why. I cherished each new discovery they made in the world and with one another." His voice deepened and his eyes grew dark.
"I gave them everything. But then came the choice. I thought that they loved, trusted, and believed me, but they surprised me. Maybe they didn't understand... or maybe it was deception and lies that made them do it. Maybe they didn't know what they were really asking or doing and how it would affect their existence and our relationship. I can make excuses now that they have been forgiven.
"But you cannot understand the depth of the betrayal. They chose to take what I was planning to give them as soon as they were ready. They wanted to have my knowledge, my power, and total control of their own lives. They wanted to be able to do everything themselves. But most of all they wanted to be able to deny me. They wanted freedom. Freedom! As if I had somehow imprisoned them with my love and care. And of course knowledge. They've never understood that my knowledge came with a high price. Of all the things I wish I could change for myself, it's my knowledge of evil. Child the things I have seen..." He closed his eyes tightly as if shutting out painful images.
"I didn't think that in giving them the capacity for love that they would choose hate. I couldn't foresee that their thirst for knowledge would make them change what I had created for them forever. Oh child don't look so surprised, I could see the chance for all of that, of course. But what I mean is that I thought they would choose me. With the depth of all the love that was in me, I thought that if they just felt a tiny sliver, then surely any choices they were given would be in my favor. I was certain that they would honor me, and my enemy would have no way to get to them.
"It is rare for me to be angry. But I was SO furious...I plotted how to annihilate them – to wipe them from my perfect Earth and maybe start over. But I really loved them, and I soon realized that my love was the reason I was so angry, because they had the power to hurt me. With all the power I possess I could not heal my own broken heart."
He sighed again, and it took a moment before He continued. "It was with great sorrow that I gave them what they wanted. I could only undo what they'd done by unmaking them, and I wouldn't do that. It was so painful to see their first shame of their bodies, which were perfect and beautiful. And when they hid from me it was almost more than I could take. Of course they had to leave the place I'd made special for them, and I had to take away the eternity of living I'd given them. You see, they already had all the good things I could give them. What they'd chosen was to experience all the bad."
Another deep sigh escaped before He continued. "I drove them out. I put up guards so they could not return, and warned them how it was going to be from then on. They soon came to call this 'the curse,' but it was not a curse to them, but to me.
"Dear one, to let them know what was in store was merely a warning for them, but I felt as if a part of me was torn. I could no longer give them everything I wanted to give. I could no longer walk with them or relate to them as a friend. They saw me as a God, not a friend. In wanting to have my knowledge, they learned the vastness of my power and might compared to theirs. I became something to be feared, revered, placated, and petitioned. I tried to relate to them, but it had changed and the chasm grew between us with each generation."
He shook his head as he remembered. "The first of the First one's children nearly broke me. I was trying to instruct them about how their hard work could bring something favorable and pleasing even though it was difficult. But they didn't understand. One was so precious, bringing me the animals he'd raised and offering them to me like a gift. I was delighted, it was just like when my First showed me his discoveries. But his brother was jealous, and quickly gathered what he'd grown and rushed to show off so his brother wouldn't gain some kind of favor. He had worked hard, but I wasn't impressed because he was jealous, and fearful of me. I wanted them to love me. I loved them both so much, and it hurt to see the distance between us.
"I knew it could happen, but I didn't think it would happen so soon. One precious brother killed the other one. It was the first death as well as the first murder. I cried out in anguish and he heard me, and he lied to me, and then he fled from me. He had no idea the depth of his mistake. He didn't know that once it had been done it would be repeated, like a ripple in a pond – rather like a tsunami which gathers strength instead of diminishing. He'd brought jealousy into the world, along with murder, and few would understand that one is not greater than the other. I learned then that I could not be directly involved with them, even to guide them. I had to take my hands off the earth and remove myself from man."
She looked at Him and questioned sweetly "Abba, that's not true, I see you working all the time on the earth, and on the people."
He smiled. "Yes my child, I've never stopped working, you're right. But I had to sever my relationship with them. I could work for them, but they couldn't know that it was me. I could still give them gifts, heal their pain, calm them and guide them, but they could have no proof that it was my hand. I had to be very careful, since they misinterpreted so much of what I did. For example, I once saw a man lose his precious child when she slipped and fell into a volcano, since they were hunting the small animals hiding there. I saw his grief and horror at her loss, and I wanted to help. I made the crops flourish for his village, and I placed more game animals nearby, so they wouldn't need to go in search of their prey in so dangerous an area. But they misunderstood. The next year they wanted more crops and better hunting, so they began to throw their children into the volcano to gain its favor. I could tell you so many stories of their ignorance, but it shames me.
"Now understand, I have been able many times to find those who were open to my teaching and I've been able to guide many people through them. Job, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Elijah, Joseph, David, Solomon, Esther, Danial, and many others. But it was never a perfect connection. I could lead them and speak with them, and even give them some of the power to do amazing things, but I could not be with them like before. They still regarded me as their God, and I realized that to change that would be dangerous.
"I had enough influence as God to make great and sweeping changes if they would listen to me. For those who listened to me, I outlawed some of the greatest horrors like human sacrifice, rape, thievery, jealousy, and the strong oppressing the weak. I tried to do great good through strong leaders, but the disobedience of these leaders was always possible. If they didn't see consequences to their actions my good intentions could have the opposite effect. I tried so hard to make them see! But for every good thing I did, there seemed to be a consequence, and I didn't get to have the relationship with them I desired. I knew they wanted that as well, but as long as I was their God, it wasn't possible.
"One of the things I've found is that even though this world has fallen, there is still a memory of perfection within them all. They still seek me because they remember me. They understand that things are not as they should be, and it leaves a small emptiness that they cannot fill no matter how hard they try. I did not intend for this to happen, but I recognize it in myself as well. Until we are together, until we are reconciled, this space cannot be filled, either for me or for them. That's where Jesus comes in."
"Jesus!" she squealed, "I just love Him! He tells me stories and we play games, and He shows me the special things from the world, and He really likes me!" She bubbled excitedly.
"Slow down dear one." He chuckled. "I know you love Him, you love me and He's a part of me."
"How's that?" she asked innocently.
"Well," He explained, "I needed Him to restore the relationship. I took a part of myself, and I made a special man to be born just as people are born. He would be part of me, but have all the needs and limitations of my people. His family was from some of the strongest of the people, and His mother reminded me of my first woman. But He would be born fully a man. And because He was really a part of me, He would not be able to do wrong, but He would have to deal with all the consequences people had created for themselves. He would know hunger and thirst, He would feel pain, He would see needs, and know loss. He would learn all they had to teach, but He would see it with my clarity. He would be perfection living among imperfect people. And I knew some would recognize Him and be drawn to Him, and some would hate what He represented.
"Before I sent Him, we spoke of His destiny, just as I'm speaking to you about yours. As soon as He was separate from me we started to have different experiences like two eyes on the same body can see two different things. I saw myself in Him, but I also saw that I would have to have a relationship with Him as well. His individual experiences would make Him different from me even though He was a part of me.
"I was beginning to enjoy Him as a separate person when I finally sent Him to be born. I watched over that little life like none other. It was like my first man but different since He didn't need to see me or walk with me to know I was there. I had to be careful not to hover since people could see that He was different, and I wanted them to see He was just like them. He learned so much as a child and He grew strong in knowledge. People were drawn to Him and His wisdom even when He was a boy. At the temple they wanted to hear all he could teach them. Not only did He know what the old scrolls said, He knew what I had really meant when they were written. He wanted so much to teach them, but they didn't always want to hear.
"As He grew into manhood, He had friends who loved him. Sometimes He had merely to walk by a group of young men and call to them, and they would leave everything to be with Him. When I saw how they loved Him my heart filled with joy since they were showing love to me. He taught them how to relate to me, how I loved them and how I wanted them to act towards one another. People would crowd around Him just to hear His words, some just wanted to touch Him.
Their needs broke His heart, and He would pray for me to heal them, to feed them, to drive out the evil that had invaded them, or even to raise them from the dead. And I would do it for Him whenever He asked. He sought out the overlooked people, the ones no one cared about, the oppressed, the diseased, the poor, the most lowly of spirit, and showed love and compassion for them. They would come to Him by the thousands, with all their needs and a love for Him they didn't understand.
"But that became a problem for Him like it had for me. Some sought Him out for his healing and what He could give them. But because He was a man, some despised Him because He had what they did not have. It was that same selfish desire to be better than they were, to have more than someone else. The feeling that they were being cheated somehow and that perfect wasn't good enough. There were those who loved Him and thirsted for the love He gave, but there were those who wanted to prove He was a fraud and a liar. They saw Him as a threat and sought His destruction.
"When He fled to the mountain top to speak with me I knew it was almost time to bring Him home. They wanted to make Him a king and put a crown on His head so He could rule over them. They wanted Him to lead them into battles, and to kill their oppressors. It was better than making him their God, but it wasn't the reconciled relationship we both sought. He had just enough time to try to teach them what He really wanted. He could let a few know who He really was, and then He was going to do something for them that would be very hard for them to understand.
"He knew what was coming, and so did I, but it was painful for me to watch it unfold. It was physically painful for Him too, but I never left His side most of the time. I was there almost to the end. But it was too much for me to watch; I turned away for just a moment and He felt it! In that instant he knew how all of mankind felt with my absence, and through Him, I felt it too. I was overcome with grief and loss.
"The relationship was reconnected but it wasn't what I expected. I had to forgive them – all of them – from Adam and Cain all the way to Herod and the one who plunged the spear into my beloved son's body. And beyond them, to all their descendants I forgave for as he said 'they didn't know what they were doing.'
"In paying the price for their sin, He was able to show me that I had a part as well. The reason for their sin was my absence. Even in the beginning, they wanted to be with me, and instead I gave them things. They wanted to learn from me, and I told them to wait. They wanted to please me, and I judged them. When my son died, He died for me as well. Our connection was strong – how could I think that his death would be separate from me? In the instant He died, I felt suddenly connected to every man, woman, and child, throughout all the ages both before during and after that moment!
"All their hopes, dreams, pain, laughter, regrets, tears, joys, and desires came to me in one overwhelming instant. I loved them like I loved my son – like he loved them – not as a father to a child, nor a king to a servant, nor a God to a worshiper, but as a brother, a friend, even a spouse! I saw all that they were and all they had been through, and I loved them more than I could have imagined – more than I did when I created them!
"I knew what I needed to do. He'd bridged the gap, and my own eyes were opened. I needed to call them home, immediately! I wanted them with me, here where I had remained distant from them for so long. I called them to me, and my son helped me. All of them were to come home.
"Now my dear, some call this Heaven, and that will have to do, but all that means is it's where I am. I wanted them to be with me, but their bodies couldn't come – at least not how they were on the Earth. But some came with the memory of their bodies, and some came without them. Some chose other forms, and some change moment by moment. But it's not their physical selves I wanted anyway. It was the part I had created back in the beginning. It was the part that was above the animals, capable of love, influencing their world, and relating to one another. That's what came home to me. And I was so overjoyed like the father of the prodigal son, only more so.
"I found that I loved them even more after their time on the physical world. For now they could see me as I really am, not as a God, but as one who loves them and wants to be with them forever. As soon as they came back, they left behind the wrongs of the world as well. There is no need for selfishness here, nor death nor disease, no fear or pain, and no hatred. Though some still bear the regrets of who they've been and what they've done, I have forgiven them all. It's funny how they seek out those they've harmed to apologize and make amends. Then they look for lost loved ones to be reunited. This place is a joyful place with all of them finally home!"
"So why must I leave here?" She looked at Him with sad questioning eyes. "I don't want to go, and you said that we all come back to you in the end anyway. Why do I have to go 'be tested' and live where there's pain and suffering and evil?" Her tears leaked from her eyes and rolled down her cheeks.
He wiped her face and smiled. "My child, I've told you why. Your lack of understanding is the very reason you must go. You see, there is sin within all mankind. Your life is the way you confront the sin. By living and growing, and using the gifts I give you, you will learn how to leave it behind. Even the worst people on the Earth learn what's wrong with sin. They learn that there could be something more fulfilling, and better than their own desires. In order for people to see and understand what is good, perfect, beautiful and right, they need to see what it is not.
"I had expected man to choose love and good, but he had nothing to compare it to. My son paid the price, and now they come home to me so much wiser than when they left. More whole than when they left. My dear and precious child, I've seen the life you will live and I know the things you will experience and what you will learn. I see people whose lives you will touch and I see the great things you will do. To keep you here would be to keep you a baby child forever. No, not really a child but more like a pet. I would be denying you the chance to become who you should become. How do you feel about the returned people?" He looked at her questioningly.
"Well...I like them a lot, but they don't have time for me. They treat me like I'm stupid – well not really. They're not unkind or mean, but they ignore me like I'm not real to them. And I love to hear them talk. They paint pictures with their words that leave me breathless."
He laughed at her word choices and patted her head. "Yes my dear, I'm sure they do. I'm sure they could tell you of marvels you could never even imagine. But they aren't likely to do that since there are just some things you have to see for yourself and you have not had that chance yet. My child, I love you dearly, don't ever forget that, but you really must go and be born into the world. I have such plans for you. There are people you will meet and influence with your sweetness, and there are things you will see that I've made just for your eyes. And I've given you skills to deal with some of the hard things you will encounter. And remember that I will be there for you when you have to suffer the pain you will go through."
"Suffer? Why would you make me suffer father? Why can't I just stay here with you? The world sounds like a terrible place! I can learn here I can grow here." Her tears started again .
"Enough!" He barked. Then, gently took her face in His hands and said with great patience and kindness;"your tears are breaking my heart. I'm not sending you from me forever, it will only be the blink of an eye compared to the time we will have when you return. Don't cry, I'm not sending you to such a bad place. Remember, I created the world. I made some very wonderful things in the world, and you can't really see them from here. I put a lot of myself into the world, and I know that you will fall in love with it like I did.
She looked doubtful, then whispered, "I'm scared. Father, you've told me of the suffering I will go through, and pain. And that I'll be away from you. What will I see that will make it worth it? What's in store for me?"
"Dear one, all I could tell you will be forgotten in the first hours of your life. And I don't think that you will be convinced by my words. But from here you see the oceans as the blue on the surface of the world. But there you will experience how vast they truly are. Here you can hear the birds sing, but there you can see their colors and watch them fly, and learn their different calls. Here you know touch, but there you will feel so many different kinds of touch: Handshakes, hugs, squeezes, pats, and touches of every kind. You will learn what hunger is, and what it feels like to eat good food. You will learn about laughter, and how good it feels. You will see color unimagined here. You will celebrate life's triumphs and you will sing for the sheer joy of singing.
"And you will meet people who will touch you deeply. Some will love you, and some will hurt and disappoint you, and some will do both. You will make connections to the world, and you will want to be there forever, and you will know that no one gets to stay that long. You will make plans and you will have dreams, goals, and aspirations. Some of them will be part of my plan for you, and some will not. I will do my best to tell you what you should be doing, but you won't always hear me, since the world is full of distractions.
"I'm telling you that there will be a lot of good things in your life, and you will want more. Right now you tell me that you don't want to go, but when it's time to come back home you won't want to leave. There will be so much you still want to do. It's the same for everyone, no matter how resigned they become at the end of their earthly lives. There are always regrets and desires for just one more chance. It's the reason I'm eventually going to make my kingdom on the Earth. But before that can happen, you will be born, live a life and return to me.
"Please Abba, don't make me stay there – I'll be different. I will be happy to come back. I won't forget you, and I'll be anxious to get back. How about a day or two? I don't need to grow up, just let me leave early – I know that some do."
He sighed. "My plan for you is already in place, and you are not the one who decides. But if you really insist, I'll bring you home just a little earlier than I planned. I can see you are worried, and I know what's in store for you. I can tell you that if I bring you home, you will be missed terribly by those who love you. And there are many things you won't get to do while you are there. If you leave early, there will be many broken hearts when you go. Many who won't understand that you are coming home to me. And it will be hard for you as well; you won't remember that we agreed to this."
"But I will come home sooner?" she asked hopefully. "I'll see you sooner, and you'll welcome me back, and still love me?" she asked, all but ignoring His explanation.
"It would be better for everyone if you stayed as long as you can. The ones who live a full life seem to come back with more peace than those who come back early. But you can't understand this now. I will give you what you ask, but I wish you would change your mind. You will have more to learn in a shorter time span, and not all the lessons are easy ones."
"I think I'm ready to go now, remember to bring me back as soon as you can." She hugged Him tightly, and He held her for a little while, whispering loving thoughts into her being before He sent her from heaven to be born into the world, knowing that she would be coming home too soon, and with fresh memories of pain and loss. He had become immune to the tears that would never dry if He ever let them fall. But He felt a great sadness when he considered how much her loss would mean to those who loved her when she came home again.
No matter how many times He did this, it didn't get any easier. He loved with his whole heart, and He could not cut himself off from the pain they went through. Over and over again He would send them from heaven with sorrow, and welcome them back home with joy. And in what seemed like the blink of an eye to Him, this young one would return, and He would joyfully get to know her all over again.
And those of us who are left behind on the earth will miss her and cry for her even while knowing that she's home.