"I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:26
Ever since my father's death, I've regularly had to explain to Levi and Magnolia what happened to their Grampy. They ask about where he is and what happened to him. Just the other day Maggie looked at a picture of him and said "Where did he go?". It can be very difficult to answer these questions over and over, but it has also given me the chance to regularly tell them the gospel in a real and meaningful way. I tell them about Jesus' sacrifice, about His miraculous resurrection and the hope that their Grampy had as a follower of Christ.
Last Easter was difficult. My father was declining fast. I asked him if he could try to make it to church to see Magnolia's dedication, but he was too weak. He stayed in bed all day on Easter and when we sat on the bed with him, he seemed so incredibly sick and tired. I didn't realize it then, but he was a few weeks away from the end of his earthly life.
This Easter, I thought of him often. In our devotional reading on holy Saturday, the kids and I read "Dying, Waking" from "Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing". It said,
"God meant for us to live forever. But sin has broken everything and now we - all of us - die.
Jesus came to destroy death. He died on the cross and was buried - but death couldn't keep him dead. On the third day he burst out of the tomb!
And now death can't keep us dead either. The preacher, Charles Spurgeon said that Jesus has turned the tomb into a bed- and dying into just waking up.
We will still die. But after we die, we will wake- as if from a refreshing night's sleep and Jesus will lead us by the hand into Life that won't ever end."
It reminded me of something that happened a few months ago, when the kids and I were reading the story of Joseph. We read the verse,
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done." Genesis 50:20.
I asked Levi if he could think of any time when something bad happened but God turned it into something good. As I struggled to think of something, Levi chimed in confidently,
"When Grampy died."
Surprised, I said, "How so?"
"Because when he died, he just opened up his eyes and he saw Jesus."
Yes. Yes! Ever since that day, I have been encouraged by those true, beautiful and faith-filled words that my four year old spoke. Someday, we will just open our eyes and we will see Jesus. And all things bad and sick and painful will be forgotten in an instant. The very worst thing has been redeemed.
Christ is risen. And so it will be with my Dad and all of God's people. Praise the Lord.