With Joy

I was traveling past the Hartquist Funeral Home this past week and noticed that Jeff was backing the funeral coach into the garage. That in itself wasn’t that big of a deal other than, as he was backing into the garage, I noticed his two little boys were fairly close beside the car. Both of them were jumping up and down with what appeared to be great joy and excitement. The smallest boy, maybe three years old, was just jumping up and down and waving his arms with great enthusiasm, while the older and bigger boy, maybe five years old, was jumping up and down waving his one arm in a circular motion as if to tell his dad to keep backing up.
Several thoughts popped into my mind as I drove by. First, I wondered, was the behavior of the little boys the effect of growing up in the home of a mortician. Would those two little boys have kept jumping for joy if they knew there was a dead person in the back of the hearse? (I don’t know if there actually was a deceased person in the back). Imagine the surprise.
And then I thought about how many times I acted like those little boys. There have been many times I returned home with something new that I thought was going to be really great, but in the long run it turned out not to be so great.
It’s kind of like buying a different car on payments; it’s really fun and exciting for about a month until you realize how much of your paycheck it eats up. Or, it’s like the excitement of bring a new puppy home, only to realize one day it would become a furniture eating monster. Or like the person who recently was sharing with me how excited he was to first be married, but now wishes he would’ve never met her.
You know how it is, “Sometimes there is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).
On a brighter note, the second thought I had about the two exuberant little boys was, I wonder when I die and Jesus sends his angles to transport me home, what will the welcome home celebration be like. Will there be additional angels, friends, and family members celebrating God’s amazing grace? I can already see the shock of some of my relatives that have passed away. They’re going to be saying to each other, “I can’t believe he made it.”
As I think about the brief time I have left on this earth before a mortician backs my dead body into his funeral home, I have to say I am overwhelmed with joy at the thought of God’s great salvation. I wait with eager anticipation knowing that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for me and one day soon he will be coming back for me. I hope the same is true of you.
In the meantime, like the little boys who were cheering their dad on, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Grace and peace to you, Mike

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