Today’s Reading: John 16:16 (NIV)
16 [Jesus said,] “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”
“Where did Grandpa go?” I asked my mother over the telephone. In our hallway, on a small ledge just above the heater vent, sat a black, rotary dial telephone. The cord attaching the phone to the wall stretched all the way from the hallway into the living room. I sat on the sofa next to my Father, and he held the ear and mouth piece up to my face, while I talked to my mother several hundred miles away. We shared a party line with our neighbors, and occasionally, I could hear snippets of others’ conversations. I did not completely understand the words my mother was saying to me. I thought it was because of all the interference over the party line. She said that Grandpa had died and gone to heaven to be with Jesus, but she was certain that one day soon, we would see him again. My eight year old mind didn’t get it then, and I’m not sure I completely understand it even now, forty-one years later.
I remember that cold winter day when we took Mommy and Pammy to the train station. It was just after Christmas. My grandfather had been rushed to the hospital in Brookhaven, Mississippi, just a few miles away from his family farm. He had been diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor which caused him to suffer a massive stroke. Grandpa slipped into a coma and lingered there for weeks, before he passed away. My mother wanted to be there with her family during this sad time. I was in the middle of the winter term of my second grade year when Grandpa got sick, and my little sister was not yet in school. So she traveled with my Mother to Mississippi, and stayed at the farm with Grandma, while Mommy stayed with Grandpa at the hospital round the clock and took care of him. I remained behind in Missouri, alone with my Dad. It was a long winter at home without my mother and sister there. They were gone for two whole months, and there were moments when I wondered if they would ever come back home again. “Mommy, when are you coming back?” I asked her on the telephone, with a sad and heavy heart. “In a little while, honey,” she said, just before the operator cut into the conversation on our party line.
Jesus did his best to prepare the Disciples for the devastating loss they would experience when He died. He wanted them to know that death was not the end, but the beginning of a brand new life. Jesus assured them that even though He was going away for just a little while, they would see Him again one day soon. I imagine they were just as puzzled as I was, as I listened to the sounds of my mother crying on the other end of the rotary dial telephone.
Physical death is a hard thing to understand, but Jesus promised that His death was not the end. If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have His assurance that our earthly separation is only for a little while. We have His Word that when we die, we will share everlasting life with our Savior forever! For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)
Are you missing Jesus today? Pick up the phone and call Him! Through God’s gift of prayer, we have 24/7 access to the Father’s ear. He understands our questions; and He truly knows our pain. Hold on to His promises today. We may not see Jesus for a little while, but He will return one day soon to take us home to be with Him forever. Death is not the end, it is a brand new beginning!
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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