On July 16, 2014, 11 year old Miguel Panduwinata was preparing to fly to Malaysia from Holland. He had flown in the past with excitement. Not this time. He kept asking his mother what would happen if he died. As he left her in the airport lounge, he cried out, “Mama, I’m going to miss you,” he said. “What will happen if the airplane crashes?” She re-assured him that all would be fine. Two hours later, a surface to air missile shot the plane out of the air over Ukraine. “I should have listened to him,” she said softly afterwards.

Have you ever had a premonition that came true shortly thereafter? I have and here are a couple of them.

When I was 18, I was at a community dance celebrating Halloween with friends. There was a draw for a 40 ounce bottle of whisky. As the time drew near for the draw, I had a strong sense within, “They are going to pull my name.”  A few moments later, that’s exactly what happened. While a minor event, I have never forgotten its clarity.

Years later, I was in a personal growth course. The instructor had a woman at the front of the class. He gave her the mike and said, “Ask anyone you want a stretch question.” In that moment, I knew with certainty that she was going to ask me.  After she accepted the mike and looked around the room, her gaze rested on me. “Adventure, (my nickname on the course), why are you fucking around?” I nearly died on the spot. Just a day and a half earlier, I had been ‘petting’ with another woman on the course – the first time I had ever crossed that line during my ten year first marriage. It led to the ending of my marriage, something I wanted but never wanted to admit.

When I discussed my eerie premonition with my instructor afterwards, he simply said, “Perhaps you invited the question.”

Have you ever had a premonition that came true? How did you make sense of it? This is how I make sense of premonitions.

First of all, premonitions are proof that spirituality is real. They are not logical because we don’t think our way into them. If we do, that’s called a prediction or a forecast.

Neither are they emotional. Feelings of anxiety, fear or anger lead us to predict the future but they are not premonitions. They are uncertainties and fantasies that run amok in our minds.

Premonitions are spiritual because they arrive as a ‘knowing’. The thoughts and feelings happen only AFTER the premonition as we realize the significance of what might happen to us. There is always a certainty to them that belies logic and emotion. We simply know.

The question is, from whence do they come? If they are spiritual, then one must ask if this is a good spirit or a bad spirit? What is the nature of the spiritual force that is forwarning us? Emilie du Chatelet was a brilliant French aristocrat who lived from 1706 to 1749. A linguist and physicist who was far ahead of her time as a woman, she interpreted and even corrected Isaac Newton’s work. She also did the math that led to Einstein’s famous E=mc2 more than 150 years later.

Emelie was also an adulteress. She was married by arrangement at age 18 and had three children with her husband who was 34. After a time, she had a long term affair with the famed French philosopher Voltaire along with other affairs. Her last affair was with a poet with whom, at the age of 42, she became pregnant for the fourth time. In a letter to a friend, she confided that she feared she would not survive this pregnancy. Six days after an easy birth, she died of an embolism. Her premonition (if that’s what it was) came true.

First of all, if a premontion comes true, then we can argue that it is truth and I believe truth is always good in the end. If we accept a premonition as truth, we can prepare accordingly. The little boy on Flight MH17 said what he needed to say in parting with his mother. I had a few seconds in which to prepare myself for the question that ripped my ‘good guy’ facade apart in one piercing moment. Emilie du Chatelet had time in which to prepare herself for death. As a Christian, I hope she used that time to get right with husband, family and God by repenting of her ways.

Secondly, if a premonition proves to be true, then we must conclude that the spiritual force providing it is good. The Bible says that evil spirits tell lies and lead us to temptations of wrong-doing. A premonition is not a temptation. We don’t “do” the premonition. It happens to us whether we like it or not.

Thirdly, we appear powerless to stop it. If we feel afraid of the news we have been given, our challenge and our duty is to make peace with it rather than to fight it. I believe this is God giving us a chance to make things right. Whether you are a person of faith or not, each of us is born with a conscience. We know right from wrong. We even know what it takes to make wrong things right. Usually, this means apologizing and forgiving. It is our inner nature to want peace, even though we resist it mightily due to pride and ego.

Do we bring on a premonition ourselves, perhaps out of guilt, as my instructor suggested to me? I don’t know. It is possible but one thing is for sure, that voice I have heard is not my voice. It is another voice that echoes its truth to me. Thus, I believe we are best to ready ourselves for the fulfilment of what’s coming rather than try to prevent it from happening. Each of us has to make that decision ourselves. Frequently, we will have only a few moments in which to decide.

With faith, we can trust that whatever comes our way, we will be fine, whether in this life or the next. When we know spirituality is real, we know our destiny is not in our hands and never was. This is when the peace that surpasses all understanding settles over you.