During a recent visit, one of our grandchildren was looking at the picture book, Good, Good Father, by Chris Tomlin and Pat Barrett. As I read it aloud to her and her sister, I struggled to internalize for myself one of the truths I was reading to them.
Good, Good Father is a sweet story about a bear who goes to the castle of the Good, Good Father to find help for his neighbors. In this allegory about our heavenly Father’s love and care for His children, one lesson the bear learns is that God heals sick people. For a few hard moments, I struggled with the reality that we lost our 16-month old grandson after a brief illness seven years ago. Yes, God heals sick people, I thought, but our grandson didn’t get well.
Slowly I realized, yes, God did heal our precious grandson. He healed him forever. Our grandson is well in heaven. I have long taken comfort in the reality that our grandson is in heaven, but the realization that God did heal him has given me great comfort for the last several weeks.
Many people live without hope. Many children live without hope. I am sad when I read a children’s library book about an amazing plant or animal or place. Too often, the book has beautiful pictures and tells fascinating facts and then ends in gloom and doom about habitat loss or poachers or some catastrophe. Can’t children learn about the wonders of God’s creation and leave the problems and solutions to adults?
I am grateful for the hope that filled my childhood. Sunday after Sunday and Wednesday after Wednesday, I learned that:
- We spend some time on earth.
- We sin but Jesus is the answer to our sin.
- We can become God’s children.
- Those who belong to Him will someday die and go to heaven.
What a hopeful way to live!
When I was growing up, we worried about the Russians dropping a nuclear bomb and we watched news reports of the horrors of Vietnam and of protesters tearing up cities. However, we knew that someday Jesus would come back. Someday we would go to heaven. Everything would be wonderful in the end, even if we had to suffer here.
This hope was not just church talk in my young life. It was my reality. It was my worldview. It was my anchor and comfort.
Some people have criticized the teaching I learned as a child, calling it “pie in the sky by and by.” I, for one, am grateful for the pie in the sky by and by. I am grateful to know that I have loved ones enjoying it right now.
Your children can grow up with that same assurance. I am grateful that while you are preparing your children to live on the earth, you are preparing them to live forever, too.
“Do not let your heart be troubled;
believe in God, believe also in Me.
In My Father’s house are many dwelling places;
if it were not so, I would have told you;
for I go to prepare a place for you.
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.”