A TASTE OF HEAVEN
(The Michael Marquez Story)
Editorial note: This testimony reprinted by permission from Jack Olson. For other delightful Jesus-glorify testimonies, check out his website at: http://olsonhouse.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=6&Itemid=73
Soon Michael Marquez would be in Denver. He watched the Spokane landscape as the airplane tilted skyward. A few small buildings dashed by his window and then disappeared into insignificance as the plane thrust upward. He thought of his own life, his career, his home, furniture, automobile, even his family and his future. Like those buildings, they had vanished so easily, so quickly, thrust from his grasp. Nothing was left but memories, a suitcase of clothes and his love for God.
Seventeen years earlier he had become aware of stomach problems. The illness became gradually worse, eventually becoming serious. Each morning rising from bed was more difficult than the previous morning, and each day his work became more trying, more exhausting. Eventually his employer had to fire him. And he continued to decline.
Then came some good news. His problem was diagnosed as ulcers, and the prescribed medicine helped. He regained strength and went to work for his brother.
But it didn't last and soon he was worse than before. Each day he threw up more of what he ate and drank. He thought he had stomach flu. Soon nothing would stay down. Within six weeks he lost 65 pounds and was so weak that sharpening a pencil was agonizing. Finally, he was taken from work to a hospital emergency room. They emptied his stomach and thrust a scope down his throat. The exit to his stomach was overgrown with scar tissue from improper medication and cancer that had been diagnosed as ulcers. Michael Marquez was dying of starvation and dehydration. Already near death, he had to endure surgery to open his pyloric corridor.
When he opened his eyes, He wasn't in a recovery room or even in a hospital. He was standing in a circle of people with joined hands, singing praises to God. They were all wearing robes of white-whiter and more brilliant than anything on earth, unimaginably beautiful. The only person he recognized was his sister-in-law.
Suddenly a bright light appeared, and the singing stopped. And from that light came a voice of undefinable quality and volume, yet intimately familiar, as if he'd heard it many times. It was Jesus, the Lord he still loved.
In a tone of majestic authority He commanded, "It is finished."
And as that voice sounded, a wall, completely transparent, like a window unseen, was shattered with the sound of splintering glass, yet without harm for its pieces were liquid. Only as it burst could Michael see that it had been surrounding him, physically separating him from his heavenly prayer partners except that his hands had extended through it to them. The barrier to their prayers was thus shattered and dissolved.
Michael returned to his body knowing he would not only recover from the operation, but from the battle with dehydration, and starvation, as well as the cancer and his long trail of suffering.
Most remarkably, the sight of his sister-in-law was a view three years into the future when Jesus' words would be fulfilled and trouble would cease. It revealed that Michael's sister-in-law had been praying for him with other people. When the wall was removed, their prayers were answered and his trial of faith was finished, as Jesus had said. The sister-in-law died at the end of that same three years.
Michael told his brother how he had seen his wife in heaven. It was a tremendous comfort for him and a confirmation for Michael . . . a taste of Heaven for both of them. God had worked in two directions. But at the time of the vision Michael was still unprepared for what was next.
During those three years, before the vision was fulfilled, he had held three jobs. His marriage was failing when he accepted a job in Spokane. His employer offered a handsome salary plus a house. Instead, his employer recognized an opportunity for a quick windfall from Michael's work and fired him after three weeks. Michael received nothing and his employer was $70,000 dollars richer. There was not a penny of severance given and he was penniless.
When Michael's wife called the employer to ask what had happened she was told that he had received $10,000 severance. When Michael denied it, his wife told him he was no longer welcome at home. His brother came to his rescue with and offer of 30 days room if he could get back to Denver, and the church he was attending paid his air fare.
Michael stepped onto the airplane with nothing left but a suitcase of clothes and his love for God.
Through all of his trials, Michael kept his love for his Lord. He never cursed God or questioned his grace. And now it was finished. He still regretted how coldly he had treated his first wife. But that was all behind. God had forgiven him and so had his ex-wife, even though their relationship was unsalvageable.
Today, God's hand is on Michael's entire life. His employer's business is growing dramatically through God's blessing. His two children, Mike, 23 and Crystal, 20 are successful at work, in school and in community service. Best of all Michael is married to a woman God brought to him miraculously. That's another great story.
In all things Michael has made Jesus his senior partner. In fact, you might say that Michael and Jesus Christ are brothers, even pals. But that's not strange. An enormous number of people would recognize the voice of the Lord as familiar and intimate if they heard him speak audibly.
That intimate relationship with Jesus is available to you when you ask him to come into your heart. When you do, heaven is yours. And Michael will tell you that all the trials and wealth of this life cannot compare with even a taste of Heaven. Best of all, when Heaven is yours, it's yours forever!
Note: This story also shows that physicians can figure importantly in answered prayer. Thank God for physicians and for the knowledge and skill He has bestowed to them.
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