My An Arkie's Faith column from the February 10, 2016 issue of The Mena Star.
When my daughter was a little girl she loved it when the family got together. My parents, siblings, both sets of grandparents and aunts and uncles lived nearby. My daughter wanted the whole family to be together all the time. When we got together, she didn’t want anyone to leave.
Now that she is grown with a family of her own, she still loves it when we all get together. At least once a year, either at Thanksgiving or Christmas, we are all together here at Grandma’s house. Her three daughters have followed her tradition of loving family get-togethers. They look forward to spending time at Grandma’s house.
As I have gotten older and become a grandparent my grandkids have become a very important part of my life. I am constantly looking forward to the next time I will be able to be with them. Helen Garner, one of Australia's most respected writers, said, “The best thing that's ever happened to me, bar none, is having grandchildren and being part of their lives.” I have to agree with her.
Last weekend my wife and I spent the weekend with my son and his family. We had a great time with our 16 month old granddaughter. Because of the 400 miles separating us we don’t get to see her as often as we would like. In the past she has been a bit shy around us. This visit she had a great time with her Grandma and Papa. She wanted to spend time with us and in the process wrapped our hearts around her little finger. Even though it’s only been a short time since I have seen her I am longing to see her again.
When I think of my grandkids, four granddaughters and another granddaughter on the way, I realize how much I want to be with them. I look forward to the next time that I will be able to see them. It reminds me of one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. In John 14:1-3 (NKJV) Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Jesus tells us that he will come again because he wants us to be where He is. I like the way that John 14:3 is translated in The Voice, a dynamic equivalent translation that reads like a story, “I will be there to greet you personally and welcome you home, where we will be together.”
Just like my daughter loves for the family to be together, Jesus wants His family to be together with Him. His prayer to His Father on the evening He was betrayed and arrested is recorded in John chapter 17. “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one… Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am.” John 17:20,21,24 (NLT) Once again Jesus tells us that he wants us to be with Him.
Knowing that Jesus wants us to be with Him should make us feel special. When grandkids know that you love them and want to be with them it makes them feel special; it makes them want to be with you. Jesus makes it very clear that he wants to be with you. Do you want to be with Him? As much as Jesus wants to be with you it is still your choice. Jesus says, “I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you will eat with me.” Revelation 3:20 (NCV)
Gentle Reader, Jesus wants to be with you. He wants you to be where He is. He knocks at your door. Will you open the door? If you do He has promised to come again and take you home with Him. “God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:3,4 (NLT)