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Hartselle Enquirer
A. Ray Lee

The Book of Life

By A. Ray Lee


I have read of near-death experiences in which an individual seems to be suspended between life and death. While in that realm they have been given a glimpse of the future beyond the physical life known to man. I have personally met only one individual who told me in detail that which he had seen.

I have never experienced that which has been written or what my friend shared with me. But while in a medically induced ethereal state, it seems I fancied myself to be in line with those standing before the gates of heaven seeking entrance. An angel stood guard with a book in his hand. Only those whose name was in the book were able to enter.

Eventually my turn came. As the Angel turned to me he asked my name. I replied “Alvin R. Lee,” my legal identification, the name appearing on my passport, driver’s license, and all legal papers pertaining to my life. Surely that was the name he needed. The pages rustled as he thumbed through the book. Soon he turned to me and said, “I don’t find that name.”

Then I thought of the name I had used to identify myself as a minister, the name on my ordination certificate, on my hard-earned theological diplomas, and on the church signs where I had been pastor. It is the name that appeared on the title pages of my books and at the top of my newspaper columns. I am not fond of Alvin and Ray Lee seemed to be so short and insignificant for my position I had prefaced it with the initial A perhaps thinking that would add statue to my position.

A look of concern crossed the Angel’s face as once again he turned to me and said “that name is not in the book either.” That’s when the proverbial light bulb came on in my mind and with a smile of assurance I replied try “Ray Lee” the name of a little country boy who at an early age in life was overwhelmed by the grace and love of Jesus and responded to that love in faith and has spent a lifetime committed to sharing it with others. Anything worthwhile I have done or accomplished has been by His power. To him be the honor and glory.

With a smile on his face the angel closed the book as he said “I recognize that name. We have been preparing a place for you, but you are early. There is still ministry waiting for you below.”

Sometime later as the effect of the medicine wore off I awakened to find a nurse hovering over me in ICU asking me my name, date of birth, what day it was, and where I was. In the following hours she periodically checked my vital signs as lab techs drew vials of blood from my veins.

In the days that followed I have had adequate time to ponder what may have been a vision or perhaps only my imagination at work. One clear conviction has come out of it. It does not really make any difference what name you earn or the position you assume in life. The important thing is that when your call comes to meet your creator that your name is found in the book of life.

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5). Amen!