I don't know exactly what Heaven will be like. I don't know if we will recognize all those who have gone before, and be able to 'catch up' with them, or if we will immediately enter into an eternity of praise of our glorious Savior.
But…just for a second, I'm gonna say that maybe we can meet up with those who have gone before.
As I think about my Grandfather who is, in some ways, no less closer to Heaven than me, and yet closer than anyone else I know - I think about his entrance and what it could be like……...
I imagine Grandmother standing there. Waiting. As she has been the past 15 years.
Continually turning to Jesus asking, "Is today the day he gets to come home?"
Jesus gently answering: "No, his time is not yet come. He still has work to do. Don't worry, the time will be perfect, just as yours was. I am in control of life and death. All things will work together for good. Remember, I love you."
Grandmother returns to her infinitely glorious worship of her Savior who has led her through her life, and who she knows continues to lead her husband on earth, and her entire family.
Overcome by the might and power of her Father, and the goodness of His faithfulness, a heavenly tear appears. It is not like the tears on earth that most often represent hurt of one kind or another. It is a glistening joy-filled, peace-saturated tear representing a welling up of contentment unknown to those outside of Heaven.
Then, all of the sudden, she hears a deep, but faint voice from far down below the clouds, "Okay, I have to go now. It is time."
All his children are standing around his bed, their chorus of Great is Thy faithfulness slowly quieting down as Grandfather starts to speak, through long deep breaths and pauses.
Ralph Jr, you brought us so much joy when you were born, our first child! And as far as I’m concerned, you continue to bring us joy as you care for all of your children, in the power of our Lord. I will look forward to walking with Butch on the sands of the shores of Heaven, if there are beaches there. We'll see!"
Sharon, you have taken Mommy's legacy further than I could have ever imagined. Never stop telling her story, which is ultimately the story of Jesus. The way I see it, Mommy and I will surely play parcheesi with Mark in the next day or so.
"I love you Jimmy, and am so proud of how well you manage the apartments and construction business - it was a dream come true to work with you all these years. As far as I can tell, you are continuing to give generously and serve humbly, in the Lord's name.
Grandfather pauses. He starts chewing on the end of his glasses like he always does when he is deep in thought, or when he isn't. Then he continues.
Gayle, I will say hello to Glenn, and tell him you are staying strong for him here. Keep those animals in line and never stop loving your children and grandchildrenNever stop loving your children and grandchildren - It is hard to love on behalf of someone else who is not here anymore, but for their sake, find ways to love them for Glenn too. When it comes right down to it, they need you.
Bonnie, never forget that your family is a gift from God himself. Wake up every day and look at those mountains and know that God made them and God made you, and placed you right where you are for his great purposes and highest glory.
Jane, I'm so glad to have been there for Elizabeth's wedding - what a joyous time. Thank you for all the times and ways you've included me in your family's events especially in the years after Mommy went to be with Jesus. When you miss Mommy and when you miss me, read the Bible - it will give you comfort and wisdom far beyond what we could give you. And know we are proud of you.
Roberta, from Brian Jr to Scott- you have many of Mommy's mothering qualities and have everything you need to care for all your children. Do not fear when things are uncertain - remember all the uncertainties I have had over my life. The way I see it, God was ALWAYS faithful to give the answers in His time.
To all of you, and to all my grandchildren…. I love you. And if there was one thing I would say, it would be to continue following Jesus with all your heart, read his Word every day. Any time you have a chance to do something for the Lord, you should do it. Tell his story to everyone….and so on and so forth."
Grandmother can't quite believe this moment has come.
She continues listening as her children and grandchildren resume their hymn singing and Grandfather gently slips from death on earth into life in Heaven…..
"Eleanor, is that you?"
Grandmother turns her whole body towards the sound of her husband's voice, she hasn't heard in person for 15 years.
"Yes!! It's me, Ralph - is it you!?"
They embrace each other in what would have felt like an eternity on earth, it is but a moment in Heaven. Their eyes lock and stories of here and there are shared in an instant. They smile, laugh, and the tears of Heaven begin to appear on their faces.
Slowly they turn towards their Savior. Their grandson, Mark, skim-boards on the golden streets over to them.
Their other grandson, Butch, opens his eyes wider than he ever did on earth and holds Grandmother's hand.
Their son-in-law, Glenn, joins them-- his jeans covered in gold dust, and his hands clutching a welding tool- one of his unique ways of serving and worshipping.
They begin singing together of how great is the Lord's faithfulness.
And once they start, they can't stop.