Mirror Mirror: Chapter 23

By JD Rockel


Chapter Twenty-Three


Everyone was enjoying the winter break from school. John and Rosa spent a lot of time in Bible study while Jerry and Ella mostly just chilled. They all enjoyed the free time.

On the Tuesday after Christmas, Jerry felt a prompting to tell his dad of the heavenly experience. Jerry prayed for strength and sensitivity before finding his dad sitting next to the Christmas tree in their living room.

“Hey, Dad. You got a minute?”

“Sure, Jerry. How’s that arm today?”

“The itching has settled down a bit.”

“That is a good sign. I have to admit I was scared to death for you. It was one of those times when I was completely helpless.”

“I’m sure you felt that way when Mom was sick with cancer. I can’t imagine what you must have gone through then.”

“You’re right, you can’t imagine. I hope you are never in a situation like that, my son. When someone you love so dearly is being taken away from you and your hands are completely tied, there is no way to fight back.”

“I’m so sorry, Dad. I know you relive those memories sometimes.” Jerry paused for a moment to consider what to say next.

“Dad, I’m glad you have been coming to church with us. It means a lot to me. I have cloudy memories of Mom taking John and me to church. I’m convinced she was a believer in Jesus Christ. I believe she is in heaven with Him now.”

“I am trying to believe that Jerry. I keep struggling with the concept of Jesus dying for mankind. It seems too unbelievable for me to accept. And I know I have to accept it from the depths of my soul. I’m not there yet.”

“I understand. It is a very hard truth to accept.” Jerry paused again. “Dad, I need to tell you a story. I admit it is at the edge of believability. But I had an experience while I was in the hospital that I want you to hear.”

“Sure, son. Whatever you experienced is important to me.”

“Dad, when I was attacked, I felt someone push my arm away from the knife. That push caused me to lose my balance and I fell backward. Then, just before my head hit the floor, I felt hands on my shoulders and then on my head. It was as if someone was cushioning my fall.

“I’m telling you this part first because the next part is what is so unbelievable. I found myself in another realm. It wasn’t physical; I can only call it spiritual. I was in the presence of beings that appeared white as if they were glowing. In the distance was an intensely bright light. It was like what you hear about in near-death experiences except I never saw anyone around my bed or elsewhere in this physical world. I only saw the angels. At least that’s what I’m calling them.

“Anyway, during that time I talked with God. I can’t remember everything I said but I do remember saying it was hard for me to believe in the sacrifice of Jesus. I asked, why He would allow Himself to be tortured and killed. Then a man, different than the angels, said to me, ‘I did it because I love you, Jerry.’ I’m convinced it was Jesus talking to me. He spoke my name. Right after that I heard Ella’s voice and woke up.”

“That is nothing like what I expected you to say,” Harold said.

“I know it sounds too extraordinary to believe, but that was my experience. It changed my heart and I have committed my life to Jesus. I hope my experience can help you as well.”

“Jerry, I don’t know what to say. I believe you experienced what you describe but how can you be sure of where you were and what you saw?”

“Remember I said that I felt hands on me during the attack before I fell? A girl in Ella’s classes saw the attack happen and she claims she saw two angels protect me. She described what I felt.”

Jerry reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. “And here’s the final piece of evidence.” Jerry held the phone up for his father to see. “I know it looks like something from a ghost hunters TV show, but that’s me on the floor and the steak of light is by my head. I’m only telling you this because I hope it will help you come to the same assurance I now have. I love you, Dad. I want you to be with John and me and Mom in heaven when we die.”

“I agree this is extraordinary, but I have heard other similar stories. I could explain this all away because you have been going to church and want to please Ella. But I must admit that photo is too coincidental. I assure you I will consider what you have said. I am glad you have resolved your doubts about God. I hope I can do the same someday.”

“Again, I know it’s hard, Dad. It was hard for me. Without the experience, I would probably still be doubting. But I have every confidence that whether or not I was actually in heaven, God gave me the experience so I could believe. I have every confidence He will do the same for you.”

“I promise I will keep an open mind. You and John mean the world to me. Any time you want to share something with me is just fine. I love you, Jerry.”

“And I love you, Dad.”

With that, Jerry gave Harold a big hug and kissed him on the cheek. It was the first time he had done that since he was a child.


Ella had looked forward to this night. She had asked Rosa several times to discuss what the Bible says about intimacy. Rosa repeatedly said she needed more time to study. “It is a difficult topic to get right,” she said.

“Let me get my notes out, Sis, and we can sit down together.” Rosa and Ella had a table in their bedroom that was big enough for one of them to do homework. Depending on their mood, each would choose to work at this table or the kitchen table. Big projects warranted the dining room.

They decided to talk in the bedroom. While they realized Mom and Dad would support what they were studying, it was still a private, sensitive topic. Therefore, they both felt more comfortable in the privacy of the bedroom.

“You don’t need notes to give me the bottom line, Rosa. Just tell me how far Jerry and I can go.”

“I’m sorry, Ella, but this could take a while. When I started looking into this I thought I would find a clear-cut answer, but it turned out to be complicated. I want to be sure you agree with what I found. For starters, can you accept that full-blown sex is only for marriage?” Rosa asked.

“I agree with that,” Ella said, quickly nodding her head. “From what I’ve read, plenty of verses say that.”

“I found dozens and that’s where I also looked for boundaries.”

“So, what did you find.” Ella didn’t like taking this much time to get an answer to her question. She wanted to get the facts and go on with life.

“There’s so much I found about marriage in my research, but that will be for another time. The intimacy issue has to be seen like any sin issue. When Jesus taught about adultery, he said any man who lusts after a woman in his heart is guilty of adultery.”

“Stop right there, Rosa. If I can’t even desire to be intimate with Jerry without sinning I’m a lost cause.”

“When Jesus was teaching about his higher standards he was making the point that we can’t live up to God’s standards on our own. We will fail, and that’s why we need the power of the Holy Spirit. I think I found a verse that dovetails nicely with this problem.

“In Titus chapter two Paul is teaching how to train young women and men to live godly lives.” Rosa paged through her Bible to find the passage. “It says, ‘And so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.

 “I’m not getting into the working-at-home and submissive parts. That is partially cultural. But notice that the responsibility for self-control and purity is placed on both men and women. Women are to be self-controlled and pure. Men are to be self-controlled and pure. By the way, pure can also be translated as chaste. I looked up the definition of chaste. It said, ‘abstaining from sexual intercourse and in addition from any willful acts or thoughts that are likely to lead to its occurrence’.

“I found many passages that speak of refraining from sensual passions. The bigger idea as you know is to be holy in all areas of our life. Because improper sexual conduct has always been rampant in society, it is emphasized.”

“OK, Rosa, but we still don’t have a clear boundary. Is there anything short of intercourse that is forbidden?”

“Jesus says in the gospels that our earthly affections must be less than our spiritual affection toward God.”

“I’m hearing all the words, Rosa, but the concept isn’t sinking in.”

“Love God above all and strive to live in a holy, righteous manner in every part of your life. Rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you into what is right and to keep you from what is wrong.”

“Are you saying there is no clear boundary?”

“Correct. The question we have to answer individually is what actions will lead me to want something that will compromise my witness for Jesus to the world? God knows your heart. The desire for something wrong is just as bad as doing it.”

“But that’s impossible. We can’t guard our hearts all the time.”

“Of course not, Ella. And God says he will forgive us each and every time we come to Him admitting we have failed. It’s the desire to obey God that matters.”

“What I hear you say is that physical intimacy is like any other part of life. If we want physical pleasure more than Jesus, we are sinning. There is a clear boundary with intercourse because that is the ultimate expression of love between two people. It expresses the love God has for us.”

“I completely agree. So, what are you going to tell Jerry?”

“I have no idea, Sis. But I’m going to take your notes and share what you said with Jerry. I am confident he wants to obey Jesus as I do now. We are both going to want more intimacy than we should have. So, we will need to look after each other to remain as pure as possible.”

“That is a wonderful attitude. I will need to have the same talk with John. Let’s pray together… Jesus, we want to honor you because you deserve it and because you saved us through your sacrifice. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to help us.”

“I agree with Rosa, God. I want to honor You. I want to be perfect but expect I will fail. Always guide me back to You. And likewise, be strong in Jerry and John. Amen.”

“That was a wonderful ending, Ella. I have every confidence that you and Jerry will do fine.”

“And the same for you and John. Thanks, Rosa. I really needed this frank discussion. You’re the best sister anyone could ask for.”

“Aww… I feel the same about you. Well, most of the time at least.”

Both girls laughed and shared stories of when they were young. The bond between them was strong and growing stronger. They were very happy to be sisters.


The next Thursday after school, Ella and Jerry met as usual. Ella brought the notes from Rosa’s discussion. After a bit of small talk in the classroom, Ella brought up the subject.

“I had a good discussion with Rosa about physical intimacy, Jerr. I’m not sure I can be as deep as she was, but I think I can convey her findings clearly.”

“Do I need to be worried or anything? This sounds really serious.”

“As we discussed earlier, with our new lives in Jesus, we want to honor and obey Him. We are God’s representatives on earth. So, in that respect, it is really serious. But as it turns out, no more serious than any other sin we may struggle with.”

“Well, that’s reassuring, Ella. I mean, I know it will be a lifetime struggle not to sin and to honor God, but I was hoping there wouldn’t be über-difficult areas.”

“Not to sound negative, but I’m sure we will each have areas of our lives that will be exceptionally difficult to get control over. That’s one big reason why we need each other. As long as we are open and honest about our struggles, we can help each other.”

“I like the sound of that. So… what’s the 411 on physical intimacy.”

Ella repeated Rosa’s explanation of God’s command for men and women to respect each other and take responsibility for their actions.

“So, our conclusion was, there is no clear boundary except intercourse and anything that would make us want intercourse.”

“That last part will be difficult, Ella. Just hugging you can bring sex to my mind.”

“I understand, Jerr. But I’m confident that we can restrain ourselves. It means doing less than we have in the cave, but I see no reason we can’t enjoy each other’s physical touch.”

“You are right that we are going to have to be very open with each other about what we are feeling. If we pledge to say what we are feeling at all times, we should be able to stay in control.”

“I agree completely, Jerr. Let’s pray about it. Jesus, I love you and I love Jerry. I want my love for you to be first and foremost in my life. But I know you created us to enjoy the intimacy we will finally experience in marriage. Please protect us until then.”

“And beyond marriage too,” Jerry added. “Jesus, I realize it is still very early to consider marriage, but I love Ella. I too want my love for you to be greater. We need your strength as we continue in our lives together. We want to honor you and be good examples to the world. Please give us the power of your Spirit. Amen.”

“Amen,” Ella echoed. “You know, we may have to be careful when we pray together. I feel so close to you when we pray and that feeling could easily lead to something physical.”

Jerry blushed. “I agree with that. I think a gentle hug would be OK though. Don’t you?”

“You bet.”

Jerry took Ella into his arms and just held her quietly for a minute. He gave her a gentle kiss as they parted, and they looked deeply into each other’s eyes.

“We will be together forever now because of Jesus, you know.”

“I know Jerry. It is a wonderful feeling.”