Being from a Christian home by age six or seven, I had heard many Bible stories, knew about Jesus, and even asked Him into my heart. A few years later, I would reaffirm my Salvation and be baptized.
I had stretched out in bed, excited about my day when suddenly, my bedroom was flooded with a beautiful, bright, shimmering white cloud.
I turned to my right and saw Jesus walk into my room. I was frozen. As I stared at Him, He came closer and said, "Come with me."
When I placed my hand in His, a loving, peaceful warmth filled my being. Every anxiety and fear was replaced with a sense of safety, love, and goodness. We walked through the cloud and into a garden of trees.
I looked intently at the lovely garden with its ancient stone pathways weaving around the plant life. Flowers lined the trails flowing down the mountainside like stairsteps.
After surveying the garden, I turned toward Jesus; He swung His right arm sweepingly from left to right to introduce me to the city and said, "Jerusalem!" then slowly moved aside so I could see.
I hurried to the garden's edge, realizing that Jesus had commanded to honor this city, Jerusalem. It was distinctively different from any city I had ever seen.
Beautiful white houses with oval doorways and small porches dotted the landscape. Some homes were slightly larger than others.
The backdrop for the crisp blue sky and the deep green of the city dotted with the little white houses would make a picture-perfect postcard.
There was no concrete, vehicles, interstate highways, or public roads; no communication towers, electricity, or telephones.
The entire land was covered with lush, velvety soft grass, gentle to the feet, pleasant to the touch, and excellent for all animals to eat.
A small, steady stream flowed between the garden hillside where I was standing and the hillside where Jerusalem was. The sky was uncontaminated with pollution, and one could see for miles.
Then I saw Jesus sitting beneath the largest tree I had ever seen. The tree's limbs covered the earth, shading it from the blistering sun.
Its trunk was enormous, larger perhaps than ten adult men could reach around, and the treetop reached the dwelling place of God. A gentle, comforting breeze rustled the leaves of the enormous tree.
The giant tree's colossal roots were lying on the ground, crisscrossing one another, tunneling throughout the planet, springing up new growth worldwide.
Jesus was sitting upon the root system of the enormous tree with His elbows resting on His knees, His arms drooping, and His fingers cupped together.
I rushed to Him and began playing and asking questions. Why do dogs bark, cats meow, birds sing, horses nicker, the grass green and the sky blue, Why birds fly, and grasshoppers hop...?
His answer was, "Because I made them that way."
I then picked up a rock and examined it intently. It was exactly like the rocks I played with at home. It was solid white, with what appeared to be a gold streak through the center.
I took the stone to Jesus and placed it in His hand; I said, See, this rock has gold in it, but my momma says it's not worth anything."
Jesus looked at the rock, then at me, and said, "If you think it is valuable, then so do I." Afterward, He placed the stone in my hand; I studied it for a while and then laid it back on the ground.
I was having a fantastic time jumping off and over the roots of this giant tree, and Jesus began to laugh at my actions, quietly at first, then stronger and louder.
We joked and laughed for hours, and I hoped it would never end; this was when I discovered His gift to me is the ability to make people laugh even when things are going badly.
Suddenly, Jesus' facial expression changed, and I could see something was about to happen by the look in His eyes.
Gradually the light became increasingly mournfully dark and gloomy until all that could be seen was the light glow of the big tree.
I sat on one of the tree roots across from Jesus, with my hands in my lap, speechless and motionless, focusing on Him and His expression. I was alarmed and unsure about what was happening.
I glanced over Jesus' right shoulder toward one of the ancient pathways and saw two men approaching, fully clad for battle in Jewish and Roman military styles.
Some of the men had long spears and shields and could easily be recognized as Romans, but others wore Jewish crowns.
As the men drew near Jesus, He stood up, and so did I. My heart was pounding, and my breathing shallow.
One of the men seized Him and turned Him around violently. Jesus did not fight and allowed them to hold Him, and they began walking Him down the pathway.
I knew what was happening; they were taking Him to crucify Him; to kill Him, and He was permitting it to happen. I tried to follow, but He turned, threw up His right hand, and said, "Stop! You cannot come with me; stay here."
I stopped, and even though everything in me wanted to follow, I obeyed His command and watched as He disappeared into the darkest night ever.
My eyes overflowed with tears, and my heart was spilling over with sadness, powerless to do anything to help him; knowing He was doing this for me was more than I could bear.
Slowly I walked back and leaned against the massive tree. A faint light was shimmering from inside the tree, emitting a powerful presence of love, mercy, and comfort.
Slowly, I slid down the tree's bark to the ground, my face streaked with tears and my heart broken. I was crying and grieving over what Jesus had done for me.
Suddenly, the darkness was swept away by the most beautiful light I had ever seen; even the sun hid its face from the brilliant glow. I, and other people, ran in the direction of the light.
I grasped a limb of the tree and saw a man of about thirty, with dark hair to my left. A young, thin boy with dark hair was to my right. To his right was a young woman with long blonde hair. The garden was now full of people seeing the same thing.
I looked into the sky in the direction of the light and saw Jesus rising into the air. His was so brilliant and bright that not even the outline of His face was detectable.
His clothes were a brilliant white like full sunlight on fresh snow, so bright I almost had to close my eyes. His arms were to His sides with the palms opened to expose the nail scars.
Even though I could not see Jesus' face, I knew He was looking at me, and then came these familiar words:
"Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of this world." (Matt 28:20, KJV)
Then He disappeared into the cloud.
I woke up and ran to my parents, telling them all that had happened. This experience took place in my life many years ago at a very young age and my parents still remember that night.
Was it a dream, a vision... I am not sure, yet every detail is etched in my memory like granite. Until now, I have shared it with only a few close friends and relatives.