"There is Always Hope"
Holy Spirit, thank you for being present here today. I praise You for wanting to touch so many hearts. Glory to God in the highest heaven!
It has been 15 months since Aldo’s accident in June last year, and I’m sitting here with a grateful heart. You won’t believe what I'll tell you today about what I have come to realize.
Father God, thank You for allowing the accident to happen. I know it wasn’t Your will, but You allowed this to cross our paths. Because if it hadn’t, my eyes wouldn’t have been opened, & I wouldn’t have been where I am today. And for that I will forever be thankful to the Lord.
About Aldo: I know the Lord is on a special journey with him. As He is with every member of our family. And whatever is happening in your life today, no matter what the circumstances are, remember Romans 8: Everything works together for good for those that love the Lord.
When you are in a bad situation, you don’t necessarily believe that, but I can assure you, God let’s everything work together for our good. At the end of the day it isn’t about you and me, but about Him. All about Him. It’s not even about our pain, or our suffering. Yes, Father God, it’s all about You. And it took me a long time to get there. I have struggled a lot, and I want to share this journey, my testimony, with you.
About 2 years ago my family and I went to New York. At the United Nations-buildings we saw a huge mosaic, depicting all nations and languages. This mosaic really impressed me. If you stood close by, you could only see the small pieces of tile it was made of. Tiles that can cut, that can hurt. But when you moved away and looked at it from a distance, you would only see the most beautiful of pictures.
I told Aldo to go and stand in front of the mosaic so I could take a picture. While I was doing that, the Holy Spirit said to me: “All the broken pieces of your life are nothing more than a beautiful mosaic of your future.” Those words touched me so deeply that I squatted right there to write them down in a notebook.
Back in South Africa I was speaking at an event and choose this as my topic. I explained that everyone has a choice, you can pick up the pieces of your life and put it together to create a beautiful new picture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You CAN pick up pieces and glue it back together. Because all the broken pieces of your life are nothing more than a beautiful mosaic of your future. Or, I explained, you can get mad at God and throw it all away. Or you can go into anger, something I see happening around me all the time.
Of course I didn’t really know then what I was talking about, because up till then I had a perfect life. If you would have asked me if I wanted something added to my life, I would have said no. I already had a wonderful husband, two beautiful children, a business that was doing well. On top of that I was still Mrs. South Africa at that time.
What was left to ask for?
On top of all this, I also served the Lord. But I only served Him because I was in church. I had 15 years of intellectual knowledge of Him, things that I learned in church. But it wasn’t Rhema, something I didn't know back then. I loved the Lord, yes, because I walked down a beautiful road. Yet, today, I know there’s much more, so much more, than to just be reborn. There’s much more to being a true child of God than what we are.
I know there is a treasure in being broken, but those are words that one doesn’t want to hear when you are in a bad situation. But there IS a treasure to be found in brokenness.
A week later I spoke at another event, this time at a prison near Pretoria. One of the inmates gave his testimony. He was a businessman serving 18 years jail time for white-collar crime. As you can imagine, he must have swindled quite a bit of money to end up with such a stiff sentence. I could identify with this guy – he was, after all, no tramp. And he told us how his kids were telling people that their dad went overseas. They couldn’t bear telling people that he was really in jail.
My heart went out to this poor man – yet, there was something flowing from him that I desired with my whole being. My whole being! The more he spoke, the more I realized he had something I didn’t have. Later, I burst into tears, and Thinus, my husband, asked what I was crying about.
I answered: “That man has something you and I don’t have.” My husband jokingly answered: “At this stage, my dear, it is an orange prison uniform.” But no, I knew this man had something I didn’t have, and that was the peace of God. The peace that surpasses all understanding. He got that peace because he died in himself.
We were driving back home, and I was still crying a lot. I said to my husband: “He doesn’t even see the sun that you and I can see. He doesn’t have the freedom you and I have, but look what he has! He lost so much, but look what he gained!”
That night I got down on my knees, and I said to God: “Father, I am calling out to you, and I am asking you: I want that too!” The Holy Spirit answered: “Retha, it’s there for everybody, but not everyone takes it.” I said: “Lord, how does one take it? How do you get it?” The Holy Spirit answered: “You have to die in yourself.”
Now, months later, I can tell you that we don’t just die in ourselves from our own free will. I want to encourage you to get down on your knees after you have listened to me. Tell the Father: “I want to die in myself.” What I wouldn’t do today to get a second chance to do that!
You know that song If I can only turn back time? How often have I thought that? If I can only turn back time. But I can’t.
However, you can make a choice today. I had to go through terrible things during the past few months. Why didn’t I die in myself earlier? Maybe because I was too full of myself. It is difficult – the more you are full of yourself, the more difficult it is to unlearn these things. Me, myself and I.
Exactly five days later we were on our way back from the Freestate, a province where I spoke at. At about 18:30 (6:30pm) we had a freak car accident on the Grassmere Toll Plaza, just south of Johannesburg.
There, on the highway, was a stationery vehicle without lights, right in our lane. My husband had no choice, he couldn’t go right, because that was the fast lane. He had to swerve to the left to avoid driving into this car. Our car hit a water furrow, and rolled and rolled and rolled.
When we eventually came to a stop, it was the worst of the worst, something I have re-lived time and again in my mind. My children were not in the car anymore. We struggled free from the car, and I realized my kids weren’t in the car anymore. When I eventually got out, it was only the silence of the night that surrounded me.
I called to them, and our little boy Josh then started crying from somewhere in the bushes next to the car. When I found him, he only had a cut to the head.
But we couldn’t find Aldo. I was running up and down the highway, scared and confused. I tripped over a suitcase and some wreckage and fell on the tar, my hands bleeding.
While lying there, the Spirit of God said to me: “These are the broken pieces of your life.” My whole being screamed: “Lord, no, not this, just not this!”
Grace led me to the opposite side of the highway where Aldo was lying. I found him there, lying in the bushes, that dark night in June. When I got to him, he was already in a coma. His skull was cracked and he was bleeding from the ears. I fell over him, trying my best to find a pulse. But I couldn’t find a pulse. As a mother, I just knew life was draining out of his body.
In that moment, lying over him like that, I realized: Whoever you are, however much money you have – only God has power over life and death.
I called to Him, pleading the blood of Jesus over my son. I knew all these things in my head. All those years in church I did listen! But it wasn’t Rhema!
While I was still lying over him, a car tried to avoid the accident scene, and was heading right for us. I realized I had to jump up, otherwise this man will drive right over us. I jumped up, and he stopped literally one foot from me. I looked into the huge lights of this 4 x 4, and something happened in my heart. A shock went through me, and my whole body started shaking as if electrical shocks were going through me. And then I was calm, and the peace that surpasses all understanding came over me.
Exodus 20:21 tells us that God was in the dark cloud. He is IN your difficult experience.
So many people since asked me: “But where was God then?” He was there, right there, and that peace calms one down.
I called to Thinus that I found Aldo. We called for the emergency helicopter and a young man arrived. He pushed a knife into Aldo’s lungs and told me that his lungs collapsed. “You must say your goodbyes,” he told me.
Another couple stopped at the scene, both medical doctors. The woman said to me that she was also a mother, but that it was time to say goodbye to Aldo. The helicopter left with him on board, and we followed in an ambulance.
When we arrived at the hospital, he was already in the theatre for a four-hour long operation. A big, burly, black doctor walked up to me and said: “Mam, I’m not sure if your son will make it.”
I remember back at the accident scene, a car stopped, and a black man got out and started praying: “satan, in the name of Jesus, no death will take place here tonight.” He kept saying: “This boy will live and he will not die,” repeating it over and over again.
I was standing there, looking at him, thinking to myself: “Retha, would you have done this? Would you have stopped at the scene of an accident to pray for anyone?" Or would you have said: ‘Children, look to the left, let us just get past this’.”
That night I truly realized what the Good Samaritan described in Luke 10 was all about. Are you there for those around you? Are you one step away from somebody needing help, or are you sitting on the side, shouting that you’ll pray for him?
I realized that night that I wasn’t Jesus’ hands, that I’ve never been. And I praise God for that praying man.
When Aldo came out of theatre, they kept him alive with machines. Every machine you can think of. He was lying like that for a week.
After a week, on Saturday, I went home for the first time. I stayed in a room at the hospital, across the passage from the ICU, during the week. I was hurting, but calm. That Saturday night I had a dream. I saw my child’s fingers shrinking. It turned black and shrank, and I saw his lips shrinking and turning black as well. It was a terrible dream to have. I experienced in my spirit that I was watching my child die.
I said: “Aldo, why are you dying? But you know what, I have held on to you for so long, that I can’t anymore – it will be better for you with Jesus.” “Do you remember,” I asked him in this dream, “how I always told you it’s not enough that you know Jesus, but that Jesus should also know you?” “Mommy knows that you have accepted Jesus into your heart, but I have to let go of you know.”
In my dream Aldo answered me: “Mom, speak life over me! Speak life!” I did so immediately. “In the name of Jesus, you shall live, and you shall have life in abundance.” I said it, and the minute I said it, I saw how his fingers started growing again and how the color came back to his lips. My whole being shook.
The next thing, in my dream, he was crying, although he was in a coma, which makes it impossible for him to cry. Startled, I woke up and wondered what on earth was happening to me. And I said to the Lord: “For a mother, going through what I’m going through at this stage, this sure was a terrible dream!” But that dream made me realize that life and death lies within the power of the tongue, just like Proverbs teaches us. (Proverbs 18:21) Anyone who uses the tongue shall reap the rewards of his words. It doesn’t say he might, it says he shall!
I could see, the minute I started speaking life, how Aldo’s fingers started growing and growing. John 10 says it beautifully: “satan came to steal, but I came so you can have life, and life in abundance.” In abundance!
The next morning early, back at the hospital, Thinus said to me: “Retha, we nearly lost him during the night. So nearly...” I told him, yes, I saw, my spirit experienced it. I know you might say that lots of people have dreams like this in times of trauma, but I say to you: “The Word of God teaches me that He speaks to us through dreams, visions and His Word. He speaks!”
I told Thinus about the dream, and how I saw Aldo dying, and how Aldo said we must speak life. Also how I told Aldo he will have life, and life in abundance, and how, the next minute, his fingers started growing. That’s just what we did then. We marched around his hospital bed, speaking life, speaking life.
Have you noticed how people can pronounce death? Over their marriages, their finances? And over their kids as well. Church people, they call themselves. I urge you: watch what you say, think what you say! Life and death is within the power of the tongue, and you shall reap the reward of your words.
Day 12 dawned, and Aldo was sent for a second operation, because his brain kept on swelling. The doctors told us that they will try one last time.
I went to my room across from ICU, and when he came back from theatre, I saw his heartbeat was dangerously low: only 32. It is then that they told me to go and phone my husband. But instead I went to my room and started calling to God with my whole being. With my whole being! God’s Word teaches me that He will answer those who seek Him. I have never before truly sought God, but that day, when I called out to Him, He answered me immediately. He said: “Retha, take off your shoes, you are standing on holy ground.” To come into the presence of the Lord, is holy. It’s holy!
He said something else: “My dear child, do you believe that my Son already paid the perfect price on the cross? For you?” I said, “Yes Lord, yes,” because I knew. That’s what I was taught in church – it’s an idea I grew up with. In my spirit I suddenly realized how I ran after doctors for days, just to see a glimmer of hope in their eyes. Instead, I should have been running after Jesus to find hope with Him. Jesus is the answer to everything. Jesus is the way, the truth, life!
A strange thing happened then. I was still on my knees, with my eyes closed, but in my spirit I saw how Jesus took 39 lashes. With the last one, the 39th one, I couldn’t see a human being anymore. All I saw was a lump of flesh. The Spirit of God told me that Jesus was beaten beyond recognition by then. Seeing this wasn’t like in the movies at all. What I saw there was beyond recognition as a human being. My whole being cried.
But then God said: “No, don’t cry. He did it for you. And for Aldo as well.” While I was still on my knees, I saw Him say: “It is complete, it is complete.”
Those words, It is complete, went through my being and my spirit man awakened. I realized that was where my hope was. And I saw in my spirit how the veil in the temple ripped in two – a veil so thick that no human could have torn it. And a veil so high, so unbelievably high!
He said: “Retha, humanly this is impossible. There’s the veil, and it’s open.” And I saw, in my spirit, the outer court and the centre. And there, in the centre, I also saw a bowl filled with water. He said to me: “Come in, my child, and wash your hands. The outer court is the holy place, come and wash your hands so that you may enter into the holiest of places.” He then said: “The veil was rent for you to enter. Come inside, my child.”
And I experienced how I was washing my hands. And how I entered the holy place barefoot, meeting Jesus there.
He said to me: “It is complete, Retha.” For the first time in my life I experienced what Jesus did for me on the cross. Then He said to me: “Are you willing to sacrifice your child?” Remember, Aldo’s heartbeat was 32 when I left ICU. I hummed and hawed. I can tell you honestly that I was afraid if I say yes, He would take him from me.
But now I realize that, whether He took him or not, God is in control in any case. I also honestly don’t want to have to make a decision like that about living or dying. God is in control.
He said: “Retha, sacrifice him to me.” Then a scripture in Matthew, that I wasn’t even aware of at that stage, suddenly came to me. (Matthew 10:37)“You, who love your son or daughter more than me, are not worthy of entering into my presence.” I immediately knew He was talking about me. Because for 10 years Aldo was my only child. And you and I as parents don’t know what we are doing. The Word teaches us that if we want to boast, we should boast in God. But what do we boast about? About our children, their achievements, the positions we are pushing them to reach. We boast about our dreams and ideals for them.
The Lord said to me: “Retha, kids are there to love. Not to boast about.” (1 Corinthians 1:31) And I said: “Lord, here he is.”
Then the most amazing thing happened. I opened my eyes and I was in the throne-room of God, and the light was extremely bright. I can’t describe the light to you. It was the kind of light that can shine through one’s bones, so bright that I couldn’t help asking: “What is this amazing light?”. God answered me and said: (1 John 1:5) “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness.” To this day, you can wake me up at 1 o’clock in the morning, and I will remember those words.
And I saw my child lying there with God’s hands on his brain.
In the Gospel according to St. Luke it says: That which seems impossible to people, is possible for God. (Luke 18:27) You see, for the first 12 days after the accident I relied on people. God then told me: “Retha, I have been waiting for you for 12 days. What is impossible for people is possible for God. I made this brain, and I am going to fix this brain, in all its glory.” “He isn’t yours anymore – he now belongs to me. He was just given to you on loan, my child,” God said.
He continued: “He shall tell the world that Jesus Christ is alive. Don’t worry anymore.” God told me, He said it to me: “He’s safe here with me!” And also, “Go and walk the road with faith.”
In the book of Hebrews it says faith is not what you see, but what you hope for. (Hebrews 11:1) The Amplified Bible says it even better: It’s the title deed of the things you hope for. And where do we want our title deeds? In the safe, of course!
But God told me that day that it’s here, right here. It’s available to every child of God. “Here’s your title deed,” He said. “Everything you hope for... tell me. What is your hope? Because here is the title deed. Take it, take it!”
I experienced in my spirit how I saw my child healing, and running and doing everything. God said to me that He wanted me to see the final product. But while I was still looking, He said to me: “But far above what you can even dream of or pray for, I will give it to you. Go back now, and walk your road in faith.”
When I opened my eyes, an hour and a half went by, and I was still on my knees. I realized I had to get back to ICU, because I remembered how it was going when I left. When I got back, Aldo’s heartbeat was 186, and they had a cardiologist with him! And I immediately realized that God has stepped in. Not even a month after that, he was taken off every machine in ICU. He still had a tracheotomy, and a tube in his stomach.
Just before we left the ICU, a doctor gave me an address and advised me to go and book Aldo in at this place. He said... I don’t even want to repeat what he said, I don’t want Aldo to ever know what they said...but he said “Aldo won’t be anything, ever. Nothing." I just stood there and looked at him. I shook his hand and thanked him. “Do you know,” I said to him, “that my God is alive?”
I must admit that, before that day on my knees when I met God, I never realized that God was such a reality. I think the reason for that is that you and I don’t realize what He did on the cross for us. We never realized that we may enter into God’s presence. We sit in church Sunday after Sunday, and think that the pastor went to hear things from God, and he will come and tell us.
But why, then, did Jesus die? For the pastor? No, for you and me. For all of us. Praise God for that. For all of us!
We took Aldo to a hospital in Pretoria. It was much closer to our home than the hospital in Johannesburg. Because of this I could be with Aldo during the day, and Thinus could be with him every night.
After a month this hospital’s staff also told me that it was time to book him in somewhere. “We can’t do anything for him anymore.” We took him home, and employed day and night nursing staff to look after him.
His little body was stiff as a poker, in spasm. His eyes were closed. He was just lying there, not speaking at all. He had no bladder control, and was still fed through the tube in his stomach. The tracheotomy had to be cleaned daily.
One day I took him to the doctor and asked if he couldn’t give me something for the spasm in his jaw. At that stage it had been three months during which we couldn’t open his mouth. The doctor told me that he still thinks it would have been better if we booked him in somewhere. “They do this,” he explained, demonstrating with his own mouth. “They lock their jaws like this. Or they open their mouths like this.” He demonstrated again, and again.
I sat there, just looking at that man, asking God in my mind to forgive him. And hoping for his sake that the clock won’t strike twelve, because what if he gets stuck with his face looking like that?
My spirit was crying after that consultation. I loaded Aldo into the car and set off for home. But I cried so much that I could barely see the road. I said to God: “He doesn’t even give me a prescription, God!” But the Spirit of God answered me: “Retha, you HAVE a prescription!”
No, I don’t, I answered.
He said: “My child, every day that you break the bread, you die with Me. Every time you take a drink of My blood, you rise with Me. Because I am the Bread of Life. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will be one with Me.” He said: “Do it as often as you need it!”
I can assure you, there were days that I felt I have eaten loaves of bread, so often I needed this. But today I can praise God for that, because when I looked again, something was happening to me.
Ezekiel tells us that we will be filled, and I could feel how I was being filled, filled with the Spirit of God. I felt how I was being filled until I started overflowing. And the Word of God tells us how streams of living water shall flow from your inner being. (John 3:8) And how you will be like a tree planted next to a river, one that bears fruit at the right time. (Psalms 1:3)
I could experience this, because I died in myself. There were days that I said to God there is absolutely nothing left of me. Nothing at all. He said: “If the seed doesn’t die, it won’t be able to grow and bear fruit. A tree is recognized by its’ fruit, not by its’ leaves.” (John 12:24) Remember Jesus cursing the fig tree when He walked past and saw it full of leaves, but without any fruit? (Mark 11:13-14)
God said to me: “That’s where I want you.” On days like that, days that it felt like my life was falling apart, I pointed out to God that my life was a mess. Then He reminded me about the 3D-pictures that I loved as a child. Remember those? You watch them until you are cross-eyed, but you still don’t see anything. And then, in a moment, it all becomes clear. Only then do you see the amazing picture behind it all. God said: “Retha, I want you to focus, to stay focused on Me, because there is an amazing picture behind all of this.”
He reminded me about what He told Peter: “You will be able to walk on water as long as you focus on me.” (Matthew 14:25-31) And Peter had the faith to get out of the boat and walk on the water while still focusing on Jesus. I doesn’t say so in the Bible, but I can just imagine Peter’s friends shouting after him: “You are stir crazy, Peter!” And of course, the minute Peter started looking around him and stopped focusing on Jesus, he started sinking.
God also reminded me about the daughter of Jairus. (Luke 8:41-55) Remember, Jairus was in the temple with Jesus when they came to tell him that his daughter died. The first thing Jairus did was to look at the Master. People said to him: “It won’t help to look at Jesus, she’s dead!” But he kept on looking at the Lord. And Jesus told Jairus to look at Him. Jairus did – He looked into his Master’s eyes. Jesus told him not to listen to what the people were saying, and not to fear. “Jairus, just believe. Just keep on believing!”, Jesus said.
I learnt a valuable lesson from this: it doesn’t help to look at circumstances. It doesn’t help to listen to ‘them’. “Don’t fear, just look at Me,” is what I learned. “Look at Me, and keep on believing." Wow, what a lesson this is under difficult circumstances. It’s difficult, but it works. And so I got up, with Jesus, and I could carry on with the journey.
I took him home and he was just lying there in his bed. Still stiff as a poker.
One day I picked him up, this child of mine, and we started walking with him. We would hold him, one on each foot. We had blisters on our knees walking him like that. Two would hold his torso. We put him on an exercise bicycle, each of us holding a foot, one holding his head, one his upper body. We kept him straight and sitting up like that.
And then somebody came along and said: “Retha, why are you doing this to your child? You know he will just be lying there forever.” But you don’t understand, I explained. “God has a vision for my child. Because in Genesis 22 He tells Abraham to go and sacrifice Isaac. And yet, Abraham says this amazing thing to Isaac: ‘My son, God Himself will provide for this burnt offering.”
He didn’t say, “Isaac, Dad knows somebody in the community that could step in. He said God Himself will provide a lamb for this burnt offering.” Isaac and Abraham went up the mountain and Abraham was obedient to God. And God saw his heart, and sent an angel. The angel said: “Abraham, Abraham, stop! The ram is ready! The ram is ready!” Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide.
Provide. In Hebrew it translates to provision. God has a vision for you and me! The ram is ready - in my life and your life. He’s ready!
You’re asking me why the ram doesn’t come? Maybe because you’re not sacrificing your problem to the Lord. Maybe because you’re still sitting with it in your lap. God is waiting for you to be obedient; to sacrifice your problem so that He can sent the ram! We have a plan for everything. For our finances, for our marriages that are failing, for every problem! Jesus is the plan! Give your problem to the Lord today! The ram is ready!
So I told this person that God has a vision for Aldo. But there is another truth that you and I, as children of God, must learn: the day God gave me this promise that He will restore my child, He also said to me “But I need your faith.” Because God’s promise, without my faith, cannot make the promise come true. God’s promise plus my faith equals a miracle!
We often think that you and I can just sit back and receive. No, we must give the first step in faith, and that usually is the most difficult part. To blindly say “I believe God”. To say you as a human will give it your best shot. To say that you will do everything you can.
The Word tells us this: “You will hear a voice behind you, telling you to go left or right. And my peace will meet you.” (Isaiah 30:21) And that is how you will know if you are in the will of God. But you first have to step out and do it!
The occupational therapist one day told Aldo, sitting there in the chair with his stiff little body: “Aldo, I want you today to see what an A and a B looks like.” She was saying this to a child that was so clever, who did so well in school – something I always bragged about. But praise God - Aldo is still just as clever! I looked at him and my heart ached about the things she’s showing him. I was thinking to myself: “But he knows these things!” But I remembered that they told me in hospital, when he woke up, that he would have a memory loss of at least 10 years. And remember, he was only 12 years old, which must be why she was showing him these things.
Then the thought went through my mind: “No, no, I will restore him in all his glory.” And I realized that I have a choice. Who was I going to believe? His little body could but sit there. But he looked around him a bit, and saw a pen, and I saw it. “Aldo, do you want to write?” I asked. He nodded his head a little bit. I helped him holding the pen, because his right wrist was a bit shaky, and he started writing.
He started with A, right through to Z, and he wrote: ”Thank you Mom, that you never stopped believing.” For the first time since that day on my knees, I experienced: Jesus is alive! I screamed at the top of my voice: “Jesus, you truly are alive!” I screamed so much that my spirit man awoke!
I asked Aldo how old he was, and he wrote it down. Which school does he go to, and he wrote. What is Dad’s phone number? And he remembered. Everything, including the accident.
In that case, I told him, he was writing exams in two weeks time, and we would have to start studying. We sat there on the patio and he studied, but his concentration wasn’t too good, and every now and again he wanted to take a break.
We talked, and I started telling him about the four times we almost lost him. At that stage, he still couldn’t talk – he couldn’t talk for six months – but he indicated that he wanted to write something. I told him about the dream in which I saw him dying. He shook his head “No”, and started writing. “Mom, it wasn’t a dream,” he wrote. “Jesus told you to speak life over me, and you did. I am so glad that you did it so obediently. I cried so much, Mom, and I felt so sorry for all of you.” I kept quiet, and he wrote some more: “ Mom, if you didn’t sacrifice me, I would have been dead by now.”
I got up and left him there, tied to his chair with bandages to keep him from falling off, and I ran up the stairs, calling out to God. “This is supernatural, Lord,” I cried. And He answered me: “How was I born?” “Supernaturally, o Lord,” I answered. “But why is it that you as my children stop there? You know that I am a supernatural God, but the minute I start doing supernatural things, you get scared! Or you frown, or you think it’s not natural.” “I am a supernatural God!”, God said again.
And He gave me the Scripture from John 11:40, a text I didn’t know at that stage. It was the part about what Jesus said to Martha, after Lazarus had already been dead for four days. He reminded Martha that He told them that those who believe in Him will experience His glory and His strength. Note that He didn’t say all who called him Lord, but all who BELIEVED in Him!
I went downstairs again, and Aldo continued writing. In time to come, he filled pages and pages with his writing. “Mom, why are you so scared?” he wrote. “Aldo, I don’t understand something. Where were you while I experienced these things in my dream?” His answer? “With Jesus!” He wrote: “Mom, while you were lying over me at the scene of the accident, Jesus came and picked me up. Mom, you even looked into His eyes!”
I remember how I shook, and how the peace descended upon me. God is indeed in the darkest of clouds! I cried so much that day. But Aldo comforted me: “Mom, don’t cry. I was with Jesus all of that time. I remember Him telling you in His throne-room that I was safe there with Him.”
Aldo still couldn’t speak, but wrote pages and pages every morning. He wrote JESUS, and circled the word. JESUS WILL LET ME SPEAK AGAIN. JESUS WILL LET ME SPEAK AGAIN. JESUS WILL LET ME SPEAK AGAIN. THANK YOU JESUS THAT I WILL SPEAK AGAIN! The next morning it’s the same thing all over again: JESUS, I AM GOING TO SPEAK AGAIN.
For a mother who used to bribe this boy with R5 for every 5 minutes he could keep quiet on our way from Pretoria to our home near the Hartebeespoortdam, this was a bitter experience. I was flat on my face: in front of his chair, in front of the bath, on the lawn. Under the table. On the table, everywhere. “Father, please just let my son speak again!” I cried, and I cried. I can’t tell you how much I cried. I realized then how incorrectly we handled our children.
One day Aldo wrote again: “Mom, don’t be so worried, I will speak again.” So I asked him: “Why do you write this every day?” “Because Jesus told me in heaven to speak life. Remember what I told you? He taught me: we should speak life!” And he wrote again: “I will walk again, I will speak again, I will be healthy again. I will heal 100%. Jesus already paid the perfect price for me on the cross.”
He wrote it over and over and over. THANK YOU JESUS, FOR DYING FOR ME. THANK YOU JESUS, FOR RISING FOR ME.
He started quoting Scripture, and told me that we will be like trees planted by the river, bearing fruit at the right time.
He started a daily journal. One day he wrote about two children he met in heaven. One was called Anton, he wrote, and gestured in a circle around his head. “Mom, you should tell Anton’s mom that he is healthy!” He wrote down a place where we’ll find Anton’s parents, and that is exactly where we found them later. They told us that Anton had Down’s syndrome when he was alive, and that was what Aldo tried to indicate with the circle around the head.
He also wrote about Dwayne. His parents called him Dwayna, and when we met, Aldo wrote that ‘Dwayna’ was healthy and with Jesus and so happy. “He cannot wait for you to go there too.”
I want to read you a few things that Aldo wrote in his journal:
Through all of this I started realizing that Aldo had been in heaven.
Hear what he wrote on October 17th, 2005: “We’ll see God in heaven, with the angels and other people like Abraham. Also Jesus, and Dwayne and Anton. Look forward with me to go back there. That is why I am sometimes so difficult, Mom – it’s because I want to go back there. Please Mom, will you also tell other people? People go to heaven, or to hell. Like Satan’s children go to hell, God’s children will go to heaven. We will live in heaven the same way that our God lives.”
In another letter, he wrote the following:
At night He started calling out to Jesus. “Why are you calling like that?”, I asked. He was lying on his arms. He still couldn’t cry properly at that stage.
“Mom, because everybody cannot enter there! There’s a bridge, Mom, a golden bridge that you have to cross. And after the bridge there is a huge door.” “Mom,” he said, “your pearls are nothing compared to those on that door. The door in that gateway is huge, Mom. With huge pearls on it. And inside, they have a wedding banquet.” I don’t know if your 12-year old knows about a ‘wedding banquet’, but mine certainly didn’t. He only knew about soccer and Playstation.
He said again: “A wedding banquet, Mom,” and then he started crying. At that time a friend brought me a book by an American woman. The book is called Heaven Is So Real, and theauthor (Choo Thomas) experienced heaven with God. The friend told me that everything Aldo wrote down, was confirmed by the experiences this woman had in heaven. I immediately started reading the book, and soon I came across the part where she described the golden bridge. And then she had my full attention.
She writes about people standing around, crying. Their heads were hanging low, and they looked very dejected and hopeless. She said “Lord, who are these people?”, and He said: “They are disobedient Christians.” “And how long do they have to stand in this barren, lifeless place?” “Forever my daughter. The ONLY ones who’ll enter the kingdom of God are the pure of heart, my obedient children. Let me explain: many call themselves Christians, but they do not live by My Word.”
“Some of them think going to church once a week is enough, but they never read my words, and they still pursue worldly things." Do you hear that? “Some, who even read my Word, don’t know Me and don’t have Me in their hearts.” After reading that I was in quite a bit of shock, and I asked the Father to speak to me through His Word. I didn’t want to risk making this painful journey, just to end up in heaven but not be ready.
“Please speak to me through your Word, Lord.” He gave me a Scripture from Revelations 3 where it says “It would have been better if you were cold, or hot, but now you are lukewarm. And because you are lukewarm, I have to spit you out.” And also: “I know your works, for you say I’m rich and I’ve prospered and I’ve grown wealthy.” Those are the things we all like to say. “Do you see this, all these things? I have worked hard for them.” Me, me, me... “For you don’t see yourself: you are poor, you are blind, you are naked.”
Note the next verse, it’s very interesting: “Therefore I counsel you, come and purchase from me.” Purchase means that there is a price involved. But Jesus already paid the perfect price. He cannot do anything else for you. He paid it. He took the 39 lashes. Now it is our turn, your turn and mine.
God says, “Come and purchase from me. Gold. Gold purified by fire, gold with the right stamp on. Come, buy clothes from me to cover your nakedness. Buy ointment from Me so that your eyes may open and you may see what’s happening in the Spirit.”
The next morning Aldo wrote in his journal, like always. But he only wrote the words Matthew 25. I ran to my Bible, and there it tells the story of the ten virgins. Ten waited, but only five were ready. My first reaction was: “But Lord, at least they waited. Ten were there, waiting!” He said, “Yes, Retha, ten are sitting in church, but only five are ready. Five asked for oil for their lamps.” “Lord, what is this oil? What is this oil?”
He said: “Retha, it’s my Holy Spirit. When I went up to heaven to sit on the right-hand side of my Father, I left you my Holy Spirit. And He will comfort you, He will guide you. He’s your advocate, your everything.”
He said to me that everybody doesn’t experience Him. “But why not Lord?” I asked. He answered: “Because your sin is a wall, keeping you away from me so that you cannot hear the voice of the Holy Spirit of God.” “It’s inside you!”, He told me.
With a holy fear, not a scared fear, I opened my eyes that morning. “Are you here, Holy Spirit?”, I called. And He answered: “I am here with you, and I love you so much!” “I am here with you! Retha, I want to walk this road with you.”
The Spirit of God then revealed Revelations 1 to me. The part where it says “I am here in all My glory to guide you.”
I became excited in my spirit. First you have to die, and then God fills you with His Spirit. But first we have to die. And how often we don’t get the victory, and we don’t get abundance. I am telling you today it is because we are too full of ourselves. I am including myself when I say this: I’ve been there. I had to die before God’s Spirit could fill my spirit. And then those streams of living water could fill me up until I overflowed, and then only could I bear fruit.
God said to me: “Retha, I want you to stay in me. Just stay in me.” It says in Revelations 19:3 that He was riding on a white horse, and He had flames in his eyes. Those flames are His love for His bride. He had a rope dipped in blood and He was called the word of God. The Word of God. “Retha, stay in my Word, stay in me, and I will stay in you.”
One night I called out to Him again, and I said “Lord, I am calling out to you with my whole being!” This time He gave me a vision of an egg and flour, the egg still in its shell and the flour just lying there. He then explained to me that I was the egg, still in my shell, and that He was the flour. “For years you have been lying in your shell in the flour. Your shell is ‘me, myself and I’. Your future value lies in the egg that is inside that!”
And then I saw how the shell cracked, the egg white and the yellow flowing out. God said: “Retha, I want you to become one with Me. When this egg mixes with the flour, it will be one. Then, if I ask you to give me the flour, will you be able to?” “No! Can you take out the egg again? No, you won’t be able to!”
I often hear people saying “I gave my problem to the Lord.” “But He is a bit slow, so I am taking it back!” “Of course you can do that if you are still in your shell, but once you and God have become one, He will never again let go of you.”
Scripture teaches you and me that He wants to sign a covenant of peace with us. That means that everything that is mine, all my shortcomings, my hurt, my pain, becomes His. Everything that is His – His kingdom, everything that is God – becomes mine and I become one with Him. And he tells me that day: “And then my child, you will lack nothing, nothing. But then I will have to start kneading you, and that might hurt a bit. Then I will flatten you on all sides, and I will put you in a pan and after that you’ll go into the oven.”
Believe me, the oven might be the best place for you, but it is not the nicest place to be. How many days did I spend looking out of the oven, crying, saying: “Oh, isn’t it better to be out there?” Then my husband said: “No, Retha, think again!” We were in that oven for a long, long time. And one day I saw how He took us out, took the bread out of the pan and broke the bread.
Then He looked at me, and said to me: “Retha, only now I can start feeding the world with you.”
“Tell me, are you useful to God, or are you still in your shell?”
I was so excited, and thought “Wow! If that’s what God wants, that is exactly what He’ll get!”
One morning, during my quiet time with God, I got the scripture that says “If you will stay in me, and I in you, then you can ask just what you want, and you will get it.” (John 15:6-7)
So, we are one, but why don’t we always get what we want? Because we still are not one with God. Being one with God asks of you to die first, and so many people along the road tells me that they want what I have, but they are not prepared to pay the price. Dear friend, you don’t have to pay anything. You don’t have to walk the same road I did. All you have to do is say “Yes, Lord!” and die in yourself.
It tells us in 1 John 5 “He who has the Son, has life.” Those who do not have the Son of God don’t have life. The life is in Jesus. Therefore you have to become one with Jesus. Not get next to Him, or around Him. In Him! You have to become one with Him, otherwise you will not see the kingdom of God.
He explains it clearly in Deuteronomy 8:40 how He walked with His people. “And,” He says, “I did that to humble you - to see what was in your heart, to test you. And I did that you to hunger you so that I could feed you with manna” Manna is God’s Word. But have you seen what somebody who isn’t hungry does with his food? He spits it out. But somebody who is hungry, on the other hand, wolves down a plate of food.
The Word of God must be like a fountain of living water that bubbles and bubbles. The more you have of that, the more you are being fed from the inside. After a while, the living waters will start flowing from inside you.
Tell me what’s coming out of your mouth? Is it streams of living water? Or streams of bitterness that are eating you up from the inside?
Then I realized, yes, there is more. Much more than merely saying “I am reborn, and now I am a child of God and His kingdom is now mine.” No, being the bride of God, asks of you to be pure, bathed in His blood.
I gave a talk at the women’s day event of Radio Pulpit. During my flight to Cape Town, I was talking to the Holy Spirit the whole time. Why? Because He is my whole life! And I asked: “Holy Spirit of the living God, please show me the bride. I want to be the bride, but what does she look like?” God’s Spirit is so faithful. He showed me the Scripture in Luke 10 where He sends out 72 people, two at a time. “They were called acquaintances of God.” That, to me, is the church. Any church. Me, you, any one of us calling ourselves Christians. We sit in church and think it’s fine
And then there were twelve. “Then there were twelve who came to Me and said Lord, will you please teach us more? We want to know more about you and the gospel. We need that, Lord.” But don’t get excited yet, because one of them, Judas, who sold Jesus out, was a devil.
“But Retha, there were still three left, and they were called the friends of the Lord: Peter, John and James.” And He sent them into difficult circumstances. He taught Peter to walk on water, a lesson I am still praising God for. John and James He took to the mountain where Moses and Eliah were. (Matthew 17:1-9) Also when He went to pray for Jairus’ daughter, He only took the three with Him: Peter, John and James, because they were his friends.
God said: “Retha, but there was one who lied down with his head on my chest, who listened to my heartbeat. He loved me! And the kingdom of God has been revealed to him. His name was John!” The Spirit of God was upon me, and God asked me: “Where is the head of the bride?” And I answered: “On the bridegroom’s chest, my Lord.” “Yes,” He said, “yes!” “Because you and I are one. Retha, come and have communion with me. Everything that is mine, is yours. Come, my dear child.” I was silent.
He said: “Retha, do you go to your husband with a list of things you need before you have intercourse with him? Or do you go to him because you love him?” I had to bow my head in shame, because I realized then that, every time I was sitting at His feet, I had Aldo on my lips. He said to me: “No, my child, start saying thank you for the accident.”
Shortly afterwards Aldo wrote something that I knew could only come from the Lord: “Mom, we have to start saying thank you for the accident, because only now God can start doing with our lives what He planned to. Mom, your life belongs to Jesus. I can see the throne room, and Jesus said He will fetch us, we must just be patient. The wedding banquet is ready, Jesus wants to fetch His bride.”
Are you His bride, or an acquaintance of God?
Jesus didn’t die on the cross to give you religion. He did that to give you a relationship with the living God. With the living, supernatural God. Praise God for that! He did that so you can have life, and life in abundance. (John 10:10) He did that so we can face tomorrow!
Holy Spirit of God, I love you so much and want to thank you. Thank you that we can now open our arms wide, unlocking the doors to our hearts. Doors that only have a handle on the inside, Lord. We’re doing that so that you can have a look in there to see what’s going on. Spirit of God, come and fill us. Reveal everything that is bad, Lord. Reveal the bitterness in our hearts, the selfishness, the me, myself and I. I want to choose, like Paul, to die with you and to rise with you.
Today, I choose life. The Word of God says “life or death”. (Deuteronomy 30:19) I choose life, a life in abundance, with you!
Holy Spirit, please remove that which must go, and yes, I am at a point in my life where there is nothing left, and for that I praise and honor You. Lord God, come and fill us with Your loving liquid love. Pour it out in our spirit Lord. Just pour on and on, until it overflows. Because He is alive, I can face tomorrow.
If there is something in your life that you want to sacrifice to God today – maybe your marriage, your teenager, your finances, your business – do it, just there where you are. Get rid of the pride, the being grand, and put your hands in the air and say, “Lord, here I am. I want to receive your Holy Spirit. I confess today that Jesus Christ died for me and has risen for me, and that He is my savior and my salvation. And I declare that God’s Spirit lives in me, and He will guide me in everything I need.”
Father God, thank you that I will lack nothing, for I am now one with you. In my life, forever, I will hear the voice saying, turn left or turn right. Thank you for your power in our lives.
If there is somebody here who hasn’t yet accepted Jesus as Lord, say after me:
Jesus, in the name of the Father, I accept you. Thank you for dying for me, and for rising for me. Thank you for circumstances, for bringing me to this point in my life where I realize that I am nothing without you. And please come soon, King Jesus, come and fetch us. We are ready, come and fetch us.
Father, I want to ask now that everybody who heard this message will say, “I will purchase gold from you, refined gold. I will purchase ointment from you so that my spiritual eyes can see. I will buy this cloth from you to cover my nakedness.”
Spirit of the living God, I love you and I thank you for Aldo that’s alive. I pray today for his spirit, his soul and his body to come in line with God’s word.
Aldo, you will live and you will have a life of abundance, and you will tell the world Jesus is alive. You will heal completely, my dear child. You are going to speak perfectly. You are going to walk again, play soccer again. You will laugh again, cry again. You will tell the world yourself that Jesus is alive. Thank you Lord Jesus. Amen.