We were privileged this weekend to see an old friend who traveled here from Colorado with a young adult group to minister to the homeless. He and my husband worked together for several years, during college and seminary, and seeing him again was a blast from the past.
I started to think about reunions today. Whether a childhood friend, long missed family members, or fellow students, each of us has someone we want to see again soon. The memory of my parents’ faces, whenever we would arrive in their driveway in Pennsylvania, made me long to see them again, as well. But the distance between us is much farther than ever, now that they are both in heaven. That distance will just make the reunion sweeter when it occurs.
How can I know I will see my loved ones again? First of all, we known we will see heaven if we know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. For many years heaven was an impossibility for us, a closed door. But all of that changed when God sent His Son to Earth. He walked as we walk and grew as we grow, but the difference between us was righteousness. Jesus, fully God and fully human, was perfect and without sin, and He became the sacrifice for our sins and those of all of God’s creation. This salvation and forgiveness, the mercy of God, is a free gift to anyone who believes in Jesus as Lord and Savior (Romans 6:23).
Once we have believed in Christ, we can rely on the promise that we will be with Him in heaven one day. Unlike the disinterested watchmaker who set the watch in motion but then walked away, God continues His work and involvement in our lives and has promised a place for us. “Let not your heart be troubled;” Jesus said, “believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am there you may be also” (John 14:1-4).
My grandmother, in her early 90s and bedfast, used to wonder why God had allowed her to live so long. “I’ve lost all of my friends, my husband, one of my children,” she would say. “What did I do that God doesn’t want me?” I reminded her Jesus promised to build a home for her, and the angels probably had not finished the roof. I was sure that as soon as the last shingle was in place, and the flowers were blooming, Jesus would call her home, and He did. I believe she is waiting for me there.
Finally, the apostle Paul described our reunion with loved ones in his letter to the Thessalonians.
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
A day will come for each of us when, whether through death or at Christ’s return to collect His Bride, we will meet Jesus face to face. The most cherished reunion of all will be when we see our Savior. The One we have known in our spirits will appear before us and welcome us into heaven. Never again will there be loss or tears. We will be with Him forever, along with our loved ones who have preceded us.
Take every opportunity to let your loved ones know how you feel while they are with you, even if far apart. But, be assured, if they have “fallen asleep” in faith, you will see them again as we celebrate eternity around the throne of God.
Mary Kay Glunt
Pastor, Ebenezer Presbyterian Church