“Grandma is back —we should have a party! Let’s get a cake,” my grandson told his parents.
Knowing this reaction warmed my heart. I always miss the grandsons when we travel. Sometimes I send a postcard to each of them, or return with a small gift. I want them to know that I never forget them.
I think Jesus smiled and understood my grandson when he missed me. And I believe that God—Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit— totally understand what “missing” someone is all about. Jesus can relate to my little grandson. And those young, sincere and open-hearted children are so special to God. His imprint upon them is fresh and tender. Jesus spoke to his disciples about his love for children and how much he welcomed them, “Let the little children come and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19: 13-15, NIV).
Jesus most certainly missed the unity that he had with the Father and the Holy Spirit when he came to earth to be with us. He spent lots of time in prayer to his Father, and we can see his heart breaking at the thought of total separation when he was in Gethsemane before he was arrested (Matthew 26: 36-45). He was victorious over the power of evil that would seek to separate all of us from God.
The Book of John is peppered with Jesus’ sayings that speak to his love for all of us. He calls us “my children” (John 13: 33). He promises that if he would go away, he would return “and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:1-4). I have to believe that much of his preparations for us is actually a great big welcome home party—complete with cake and delicious fruits from the Tree of Life. And in the meantime, he does not leave us as orphans or all alone, but sent his Spirit to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Jesus’ beautiful prayer for his believers is in John 17, and his desire for us to be with him forever. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am…” (John 17: 24).
In Luke 15:11-32 we have a picture of the Heavenly Father’s idea of a welcome home party: a good robe, a ring, new sandals, the best juicy steak, music and dancing! The father said, “We had to celebrate and be glad…” Luke 15:32. God knows how to throw a party!
No More Separation
As we read about the conclusion of earth’s history in the Book of Revelation, especially chapters 21-22, we can see a glimpse of the promises fulfilled, and the splendor of our new home with God. No more tears, death, mourning, crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). To be able to drink from the spirng of the water of life is sheer joy (21:6; 22:17) and we will inherit “all this.” We will be surrounded by a city of incredible beauty, with the glory of God shining on us for eternity—no more night, no more need for light or lamps (21:5). And the best part: no more separation between us and God, or between grandchildren and grandparents.
Jesus can say with my grandson: “The children and grandparents are back—we should have a party! Let’s get a cake!” I can hardly wait…
Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:
- Have you ever created a surprise party for someone, and what happened?
- What part of the promises for Heaven do you most anticipate?
Karen Spruill writes from Orlando, Florida.
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