The Herald Bulletin

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June 10, 2006

Jim Bailey: Trying to get a glimpse of what’s over on the other side

Despite lifelong beliefs that have been ingrained in my faith since childhood, I have to admit that like almost everyone else I have from time to time wondered if my existence will simply come to an end on the day I draw my last breath.

There is, after all, no way to prove one way or the other that human life continues in another realm after the body ceases to function. Nobody has come back to testify about it, with one notable exception of course, and those who reject his divinity also tend to doubt what he had to say about life after death. And the late Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the infamous atheist, hasn’t weighed in on the subject lately either.

Some would insist such doubts are implanted by the devil himself. Others counter there is no scientific basis for belief in a hereafter in the first place.

But just about every time I entertain such doubts, something comes along to reinforce my long-held belief in the hereafter. It’s often the experience of a dying saint getting their first glimpse, as an old gospel song puts it, of what’s over on the other side.

I’m told the Rev. Dr. Hollis Pistole appeared to have one such experience at his passing a little over a month ago. According to the story, Dr. Pistole, after a long battle with debilitating illness, raised up and put his arms out just before he drew his last breath. Apparently he received that glimpse of what awaited him.

My wife’s father had a similar experience, opening his eyes and reaching heavenward just before his passing.

I also recently went over my mom’s notes made at the time of my dad’s death more than half a century ago. “Under me? Under me? Thank you, Jesus,” he said.

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