Somewhere just before midnight, Reggie thought he heard thunder and a strangely familiar voice. He sat up in his bed to see who it was. And there was Jesus, arms outstretched, smiling from ear to ear. With clear vision he gazed at his Savior and then was suddenly aware that he could hear clearly and no longer needed his dentures as a huge smile took up all the space on his face. “Let’s go, friend,” Jesus said as he took his hand. “You’re coming Home today. And I’ve got a whole host of folks waiting to welcome you back.” Reg laughed. He couldn’t stop smiling. His smile was one of those that usually hurts your face but nothing was hurting right now. He was filled with a joy that he had never known before. It brought his mind back to his wedding day and he knew that this was his wedding day too.
And then Grace flooded his soul. Jesus was enough! He’d never understood it before. But here he was standing in Grace. A ninety-year-old body had been exchanged for one that was healthy and strong. He was clean, he was whole, he was shining like the sun. Jesus had salvaged an old man and made him new. Jesus was enough. There’s not supposed to be crying in Heaven. Reggie knew that bit of scripture, so why were tears flowing down his face? His life had been hard at times. He’d grown up without a mama. He married young and raised five children the best he could. He’d had regrets. He’d had fears. Mistakes had burdened his mind. He looked at the One holding his hand and they melted away.
Nothing could have fully prepared him for this moment. The prettiest crop of wheat and a thousand head of healthy cattle weren’t this beautiful. Those mountains in Colorado didn’t compare. This small-town farm boy had lived a simple life. He’d had good and bad times. He’d felt blessed and he’d longed for more. But this was more than his more. He could never have imagined the joy he was feeling – not that he’d had much imagination anyway! And yet, here he was, sharing thoughts with His Creator. He thought of his Connie. He couldn’t wait for her to see this. He couldn’t wait to see her smile. There was no sadness in this thought, just a longing to share joy with the ones you love.
Reggie wished he’d known sooner. Relying on someone else – even someone divine – was difficult when you’d always had to rely on yourself. He’d worked so hard. He had made mistakes. He’d taken things for granted. There were plenty of times this simple old man had ignored His Father’s whispers. Suddenly his sins felt so heavy. But Jesus was right on queue, as He always is. “Is this what you are worried about, son?” A long list rolled from holy scarred hands. There were things on that scroll that Reggie hadn’t thought of in years! Sins that only he knew about were written in bold letters. He cringed at things he had done that hadn’t seemed wrong at the time! But what caught his eyes the most were the huge words stamped over them all – PAID IN FULL. It was written in the blood of the Lamb. It was sealed. And as he humbly looked up into the eyes of his Savior, he heard the words only Jesus could say, “It is finished.” The humble servant was Home.
(sidenote: my sweet daddy went to Heaven on May 7. As I thought of his journey, these are the words that came. I like to think of him playing dominoes with his older brothers or having a game of gin with old buddies. I know his mama had a hug waiting! And then there’s my sweet daughter, Astyn, bouncing off Heaven’s walls so happy to see her grandpa. But honestly…”no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind can conceive the things God has prepared for those who love Him.”) Be blessed.
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” “For the Lord Himself will come down from Heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore, encourage one another with these words.” I Thess 4:13,16-18
“Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you, (Martha), that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’” “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’ John 11:40, 25-26
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” IJohn3:1