I remember sitting with the neighborhood young men who would come to our house for bible study and hang out during the week to play video games. My wife and I would host them after work so that they would have a place where they could be safe and untempted from this world’s vices.
It was a usual day; the guys were loud and obnoxious as usual. They were having fun beating up the old guy (in my 30s at that time). I received a call from my younger brother’s wife. He had passed away. The young men knew my joyful face, but they also understood my look of concern. They automatically quieted down. No one had to tell them that I was experiencing a tragic moment. They turned off the TV and video game while gathering around me. I told them what had happened, and they all shed tears with me.
As I look back, the incident is still vivid in my mind. Because these young kids were all in their teens. We had gone through some thick and thin times with most of them. Divorced parents, drugs in the family, and so on.
Some of these young men and women were living with their grandparents because the dads were not around, and the moms were not able to handle their teen male rambunctiousness.
Yet, these young men taught me the meaning of true loyalty. They hung out and protected each other. They protected my daughters whenever I asked them to keep an eye on them. These young men were joyful with my family and me.
- The ministry my family had, was not a ministry but a joyful fellowship
- Where we taught these young men and women what family should be
- How to always lean on God, and to continue on in life, no matter the circumstances
- Most of those young men have moved on.
- Some have kids now, with their own joys, problems, and experiences.
Then there was the men and women, our friends and brethren in Christ. They, too, have been a big part of our joys and sorrows. We have all been there for each other. Some, we see often, others, not so often. However, here is the incredible part, whenever we get together with these old friends, it’s like we had seen each other yesterday. We start where we left off, no matter the time passed.
Here is the secret to the joyful gatherings even in times of trials. We all have one thing in common. We all have committed our lives to Christ. You see, it is only in faith through our Lord and Savior Jesus the Savior, that we have the strength to be joyfully happy in the good times, and also shed tears with our loved ones and friends during life’s tragic times.
As we get older, there’s a reason why we hurt emotionally but are joyful when one of our friends passes into the next journey. We know that losing a brother or sister in Christ is only a temporary thing. We shall see them again because they have only gone ahead of us. They have finished the race and have completed their journey, reaching their destination. We rejoice in this but feel sorrow for not having them around.
One day we will rejoice and kick back with all of the people that have come through our home, our lives, and once again, we will start where we left off here on earth…
I would invite you to have this joyful assurance of knowing what your next life journey will take you. I invite you and ask that you invite your loved ones and friends on this jpurney too!