I Know Who

It would have been my dad’s 91st birthday, eight years after he had moved on to heaven.  As I thought about him that morning, I realized it was no longer sadness I felt, but anticipation of being with him again – in heaven.  It wasn’t the first time for that thought, but where it took me was so much better than what I had glimpsed before.

birthday candlesI used to imagine the two of us catching up on what we’ve done since he moved on.  What an earthly view that was.  Even in the best of times here, there is some sort of pain involved – whether emotional or physical, great or small – because we are still in the flesh.  How much better the heavenly view!  This time, the only communication between my dad and me was the almost tangible love of Christ between us and around us.  It was, essentially, the air we breathed, and it required no words.  There was no comparison between the love we shared on earth and this greater, more all-consuming love of Christ.

With a slight turn of attention, I experienced that same love, unhindered by anything mortal, surrounding my mother and filling the space between the two of us, as well.  Despite all the struggles in our earthly relationship, the love of Christ connecting us in heaven was of the same magnitude for her as for my father.  All earthly walls between us were non-existent, and only Christ and His love remained.  What a joyous reunion!

As if that wasn’t enough, I then became aware of His love surrounding and connecting me with others in the body of Christ for whom I have not felt love on earth (understatement :-)) – where I have chosen to focus on differences of opinion, personality, etc.  In heaven, these differences are actually appreciated, not simply tolerated, because each difference reveals another aspect of Jesus we would not otherwise see.

When this “visit” ended, eager anticipation remained, though it was no longer aimed at joining my earthly dad in heaven.  Now it was to experience the love of Christ for all my brothers and sisters still on earth.  I don’t want to wait until heaven.  Fallen flesh may work against me to hinder, but greater is He Who is in me than the flesh in which I currently live!

With boldness and confidence in Jesus Christ, I pray the following verses for myself (and for you), knowing He will bring it to pass.  I don’t need to know how or how long it will take, because I know Who!

Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV  14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Tribute to a Friend

My friend’s mother passed away yesterday unexpectedly.  The sadness I feel isn’t just for my friend and his family, but for me, too.  This woman was my friend, and I shall miss her.  Yet, moments after hearing the news, my thoughts were taken in a completely different direction.

I’ll be honest.  At first, I thought about how she’s seeing things about the Lord she wouldn’t believe while here, things some of us already knew and tried to tell her.  That arrogant train of thought was quickly destroyed when I realized she’s seeing it all so much more clearly than any of us ever will while on earth.  She understands the limitations of the doctrines she believed, as well as the limitations of the “greater” doctrines we espouse – and sees what the fullness of Truth really is.

Where earthly things are concerned, she sees now how much time was wasted on things of no value, while being shown the eternal impact some of her seemingly insignificant actions had.  I would love to get her perspective for my own life, even after only one heavenly day’s experience.  As a faithful choir member for decades, what notes can she hear that mortal ears can never perceive?  What amazing landscapes does she see now – with colors so crisp and vibrant, and far beyond our visible spectrum?  Then there is also her over-the-top delight in reuniting with friends and loved ones as they celebrate her homecoming.

As wonderful as all these are, they pale in comparison to seeing the face of her Creator, her Father, her Savior and Lord, her Jesus!  He is the One by Whom, for Whom, and through Whom she was made, and now my friend is experiencing Him in His fullness.  Today, you and I can only wonder about it, but one day we will also see Him as He is.

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 NIV

54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”  55 “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”  56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  57 But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Goodbye, my friend.  Thank you for helping me see more clearly – even from heaven.  I look forward to seeing you among my welcoming committee when I arrive.