A Joyful Reunion
Read: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
This past year has surely looked different than could have been imagined a mere twelve months ago. We have seen events either canceled or altered to allow those who participated in them to remain as healthy as possible. I have laughed at some of the imaginative ways people have found to bring a smile into people's lives during these trying months. For example, one church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota wanted to drop off bags at the doors of those who belonged to their congregation. In order to accomplish that, they dropped off the items at each of the homes, rang the doorbells and then left quickly. They called this campaign "Ding Dong Ditch". A clever way to say that they hadn't forgotten those who needed to, for that season, be in their homes.
Though I love hearing about ways people learned to cope because of the virus, this morning I was really happy to read about a tradition that will continue this year, even though it will look a bit different for its three participants, Don Crisman, Tom Henschel and Gregory Eaton. These three gentlemen have never missed being at a Super Bowl, and the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs will be no exception. For the past five years, these three men have enjoyed each other's company. Crisman and Henschel's friendship began in 1983 when they learned that neither one had ever missed a Super Bowl. This year, they will eat outdoors while seated several feet apart. They will be in different rows during the game; yet, they will enjoy both the game and their time of catching up during their lunch together. Each of them is aware that this might be the last time for this tradition since they range in age from 79 to 84. Even so, this year, they have their tickets to the big game and look forward to their reunion.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul reminded his readers of a reunion that is more sure than any longed-for earthly one. A day is coming when all who belong to Jesus, both the ones living and those who have died will meet the Savior in the air. This will happen in the twinkling of an eye. What unimaginable bliss we will experience on that day. We will be together with our loved ones to enjoy one another for not merely one precious day but for days without end. We all will be with Jesus Who made it all possible because He through His atoning death on the cross and His resurrection has overcome the world, John 16:33. No wonder the apostle told his readers to comfort one another with these truths. Someone might wonder how we can be certain this promised reunion will ever take place. A good question since we have been reminded almost daily of the uncertainty of circumstances that, not long ago, seemed to be certainties.
This week, I have been reading in Matthew's gospel. By the time I finished reading chapters 1-2, I came across no less than five prophesies that Jesus fulfilled. Why mention that as evidence that a reunion with the Lord is a surety? Think of it. The Lord wants us to know we can count on His promises, even ones where we might not understand every detail. I wonder what the prophets thought as they wrote the promises Matthew quoted in chapters 1-2. Those who received the prophesies included Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah and whomever wrote 2 Samuel. What a beautiful thing it is that these five authors are quoted in Matthew's gospel, reminding us of God's faithfulness to His Word. What He spoke concerning Jesus' first coming, no matter the author the Holy Spirit used, was fulfilled. All that before we ever get to Matthew 3. No wonder we can point to 1Thessalonians 4:13-18 with confidence. No wonder the apostle Paul calls on his readers to stand on that promise and hold it out to those whose hearts are breaking when they are grieving. God's promises are not wishful thinking and happily ever after pie in the sky. Rather, we can take them to the bank. This we know because of God's perfect record. All He has promised fits into two categories. What we have seen Him do and what we know He will accomplish because He can not lie, Titus 1:2; Numbers 23:19.
Back to the three friends who will be at the Super Bowl in Tampa. They have their tickets; therefore, they have the right to go to the game. As those who belong to Jesus, because we are resting in His finished work, we also have our tickets. We will be at the reunion He has promised, and it doesn't stop there. We have the privilege of telling others how they too can meet Jesus in the air. Sadly, we frequently know people whose hearts have been shattered through life's circumstances. Perhaps a precious loved one has passed away. Thankfully, we can show Jesus' love with our actions and words, and because of Jesus' promise of a reunion, we can offer them real Hope.
We have a Savior Who not only has experienced pain but He has also opened the door that will put an end to grief and disappointment of all kinds. He has experienced what we deal with in life, and He has conquered death, Hebrews 2:14-18.
Another Promise to be Fulfilled:
"Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.
1."Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.
2 There is more than enough room in my Father's home.[a] If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?[b
3. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.