Since returning home from Dad’s funeral last Saturday much of my time has been spent attempting to answer express gratitude to the countless people who have shown the Lord’s compassion during this extremely difficult time.
Shortly after Dad’s death I started a mailbox in my email and called it simply, “Notes About Dad.” Currently that mailbox has 681 messages, with more arriving each day. During this past week I have attempted to answer every one of those messages. If you happen to be reading this and I haven’t answered your message please accept my sincere apology. These messages do not include some FB posts on my wall. Answering these messages has been good for me. It has caused me to go back and reread what many wrote about Dad or our family. Many of them have brought tears of joy and thankfulness to our hearts.
In addition there have been hundreds of sympathy cards that have arrived at our home and at the office from literally all over the world. There have also been phone calls from around the world. For each of these expressions of comfort we are truly thankful. We do not feel worthy, but we are thankful and humbled by the kindness of so many.
Then there are the children. Words of comfort, pictures, notes and love from the children. I would like to take a few minutes to share with you thoughts from just a few of the children. To see death and Heaven through the eyes of a child is enlightening. It is beautiful and encouraging. We could write a blog on each of these, but I wanted you to see them all together.
The Theology may not be exactly right every time, but the thoughts of the heart of children will certainly make us think. And there are times that the Theology of children makes more sense than some of what we teach!!
After Dad passed away one of our children’s Bible classes were praying for Mr. Jeff and his family. They were also praying for others who had special concerns. They were talking about ways we could help others. One of the fine little girls said, “Who is in Mr. Jeff’s corner?” WOW!!
This little girl had heard her mother talk about how everybody needs somebody in their “corner” at different times. This sweet little girl wanted to make sure that someone was taking care of everyone. Now, there’s a sermon preachers. “Who is in your Corner?” You can take that question and preach it to the ends of the earth. We all need the Lord, the church, our family, and our friends in our “corner” at times in our life.
Last week I received an email from one of our Christian friends who related the conversation she had with her two children (ages 6 and 4). Here is part of what she wrote. “This morning I told them that he had passed, and that you were very sad and would need a big hug from them when you got back. They both looked at me kind of funny. One said exactly ‘But he's with God now, Mom. We all want to go to heaven.’ And then the other – ‘And God will heal him. Now he can play.’ If I had any idea of the response I would've recorded it for you to hear yourself.” How wonderful.
At the close of one of the services Sunday one of our fine men brought me two homemade cards. His daughters wanted to make a card that would help ease the pain. They wanted to draw pictures and they asked what would make Mr. Jeff feel better. My friend told them that knowing my Dad was in Heaven is the best thing I can know. So, they decided to draw me pictures of Heaven. One had the gates, the streets of gold, an angel, and a picture of a Zebra. My friend said, “apparently my daughter thinks there should be Zebras in Heaven!”
The other had a picture of Heaven and a picture of her talking with Deborah (the woman judge in the Bible). My friend said his daughter was fascinated with Deborah. I jokingly said she wants to learn about how Deborah became a judge with power over all those people. He said, “Exactly!
Another little boy came running up to me Sunday and wanted to give me a big hug. He said, “I love you Mr. Jeff and I thought you would need a big hug!” How right he was.
No wonder Jesus said, “"Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me.” (Matthew 18:3-5) “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
While we are extremely thankful for every expression of comfort we have received, there is something special about these words from children. May God help us to realize how precious they are and how important it is for us to continue teaching them the Word of God.
Dear Father, we thank You for the fact that we are blessed to serve the God of all Comfort. We thank You for the opportunity to receive Your comfort through others. Dear God, we thank you in a special way for children. Through their innocence they teach us. They help us learn more about the sweetness of Heaven and about Your love. Help us Lord, to always give attention to the needs of children and help us to never quit teaching them Your marvelous Word. In the Name of our Blessed Savior, Amen.