It's been two months since my family suffered the loss of my grandpa. Throughout the adjustment to the idea of life without his presence here anymore, it's been a huge blessing to know that He is safely in the arms of Jesus. It never ceases to amaze me, however, the way God can take something you've always known and then present it to you in a way you've never thought of before. And in a way that just puts you in awe of Him once again! If you've lost someone you care about, maybe you'll be able to relate to what I learned. But first, to explain how it started:
A couple weeks ago I was visiting my sweet grandma. While I was there, I had the occasion to go into the basement...somewhere I haven't been in years. Talk about memories! I could almost see all my aunts, uncles, and cousins gathered down there for Christmas with wrapping paper everywhere! On my way back upstairs, I happened to glance at a door - the door to my grandpa's workshop. I opened it and took a peek inside. Now, my grandpa was 89 years old. I'm not sure how often he got down there to work anymore, but Gramps always loved to tinker, so I like to imagine that he still found reasons to be in there when he could. In any case, the room definitely felt like he had just been there. Objects on the workbench, suggesting projects that were left unfinished...his hands the last to place them where I now saw them; his flannel work shirts and work apron hanging on a nail beneath pegboard filled with all his nails, screws, and I don't know what else; a router and table saw just waiting for his next project. Everything was in its place. And that's when it hit me once again that Gramps would not start another project. With a new wave of sadness, I walked back upstairs.
Now it just so happens that I have always been moved and intrigued by John 17, the chapter in the Bible where Jesus prays what is known as the High Priestly Prayer. One part in particular that always touched me was verse 20. After asking the Father to be with His disciples because His time on earth with them was nearing its end, Jesus continued with, "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word". I remember reading that for the first time and being completely awed by the fact that Jesus had just prayed for me! Right there! It said He asked "also for those who will believe in me through their word"...this is the whole body of believers, every single Christian in every single age that was to follow (and every person who still has yet to believe in His name!). Wow! I always knew that the Bible says Jesus intercedes for us before the Father, but here right in front of me I could see and read the words...and I was included in His prayer!
This had been my main experience with John 17. Until, that is, the Lord led me to some words from Charles Spurgeon. If you've read anything I've written recently, you've probably realized that I've mentioned and quoted him several times. Well let me tell you, it's because the Holy Spirit gifted him with a gold mine! Seriously, I'm being blown away by the depth of insight the Lord gave to him, and the way he could put it into words! Anyway, I was reading one of the evening devotions from his book Morning and Evening. Spurgeon was reflecting on John 17:24. I was immediately intrigued! One of my favorite passages! Here is the verse Spurgeon had chosen: "Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am".
Oh that sounds so beautiful, to be with Jesus where He is! But then one must consider just where Jesus is and how we get to be where He is. Well, He is in heaven, and we get there through death. Hhhmm, suddenly my favorite chapter was a little dep