“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” John 14:1-4
Cleaning, shopping, baking...and preparing for a mini family reunion. I remember this scripture. I wonder, after checking my many lists one more time, how Jesus is preparing for the grandest reunion ever.
Then it is time. The first ones, Abraham and Rebekah arrived, flying into our waiting arms. Soon Rebekah's parents, Paul and Carolyn, drove into the driveway. The scene was repeated with more hugs and thanksgiving that we were together. Family together brings such joy of remembering. A wind brought in a fierce rain that evening. We prayed for our grandson knowing he was traveling on the highway. What was he facing? God heard our prayers. We give thanks when Ben came from the darkness to the light and to the safe haven of family. Just as we live through the life's storms and seek direction...on our way to Heaven, to a forever-gathering of eternal life with our Lord. As more family arrived in a flurry of hugs and laughter, we settled into a time of remembering. Rebekah found a picture of a family gathering when she was a young girl and the picture was re-created. 'Remember-when'is how nearly every conversation began. The grandchildren listened to oft-repeated stories from the childhood of their parents and the good- natured teasing between their two Dads. Will we tell 'remember-when' stories in Heaven? One granddaughter asked the prospective fiance of Rebekah, 'how did you meet' questions. Thefamily, young and old, listened with expectant smiles on their faces. It is a joyous time of remembering when love flowered between the two.
As I listened, I was drawn into the on-going circles of life through time. The preciousness of the moment held memories as I thought about how Mom and Dad would have enjoyed this time with us.Their spirits seemed to be present in the room. I remembered the family times from long ago.We never tire of reminiscing about growing up. I remember the times when my Siemens Uncles and Dad were together. The 'remember-when' stories and laughter ricocheted around the room and down through the ages. What is it that makes family always a gift of belonging that continues through love, marriages, births and deaths – but never dying. When clocks are stilled and time is set to 'forever', will we again meet as a family? We will meet together as God's family. What will it look like? Will the stories we tell be of when we first believed in Jesus Christ? As each story is told to a chorus of Amen's and Hallelujah's. Will we rejoice and celebrate how the learning to know Him fully took no less than a life-time on earth? We can see how we were led to Him and rejoice as we see how often we were forgiven and we were pulled back to walk with Jesus on earth. As we prepared to leave each other, we held hands in a circle and were led in prayer for safe-keeping – physically and spiritually. We said goodbye for now with hugs and laughter and eyes that were filled with tears that threatened to overflow. Several days later, a sweetness of Jesus-joy fills the air as Dad and I continue to hear the echo of a loving family, laughter, and seeing how our children, grandchildren and beyond, grow in grace and nurture of the Lord in all that they do.
Now it is quiet again, and in that quietness I hear a voice from my child- hood memories of a lady in church singing the words of Jesus with a deep contralto voice... “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” The promise of Jesus is etched deeply in my heart. There is a place for us that Jesus is preparing. He is coming again for us because He wants us and all His children, our children and children's children, with Him. When trouble on earth is spelled in capital letters, my heart knows where peace lies and the words continue to sing.....”Let not your heart be troubled”....