A Family Reunion

God’s Holy Word speaks to His grace and mercy regarding the restoration of Israel.

At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, ant they shall be my people (Jeremiah 31:1).

Time and distance have separated me from my family. It is not often that my family is able to come together and share personal histories. When those opportunities come though the reunion is great, wonderful and filled with the Holy Spirit. My family is counted among God’s people and for that I give praise, honor and glory to Him.

My wife and I were caring for my Dad in our home. He has dementia. We worked to make a home for Dad, but attitudes and other things got in the way. Perhaps we were not as closely bound to the Holy Spirit as we might have been. Perhaps we were and our effort to care for Dad was a trial to strengthen us.

Dad was not happy in our home. He is still our Dad and he still thinks he has authority to make his own decisions. Dad tried to be compliant, but a resentment toward my wife and me started to show itself. His resentment and sometimes his behavior toward either of us was trying. He was particularly harsh toward my wife. Needless to say his consternation toward her was a frustration I carried.

Dad, my wife and I discussed our options. Dad appreciated the regimented lifestyle in a former dementia care center. He expressed a desire to be back in a place where daily activities were established. He likes being called to meals at specific times of each day. He likes being checked on frequently. He appreciates the medical attention paid to him. All things considered I am convinced Dad is better served in a loving, caring, structured residence.

It pains me to say I am unable under my own power to provide the kind of structured living Dad needs. I am grateful to our LORD for the opportunity. I am even more grateful that our Father forgives my weaknesses.

Moving Dad to a new residence gave me an opportunity to visit my family on the West Coast. My youngest brother’s wife died and a Memorial service was soon to be held. For days I felt badly because I would not be there to support him and his children. My wife was the first to suggest I make that vacation trip we kept putting off. She would not be able to accompany me, because one of us needed to remain to help with Dad’s decisions while the other was away. I praise the LORD for my wife and her willingness.

I spent several days with my brothers and with my Aunt. We shared golf outings. We shared current histories. We relived some of our past. Most importantly we shared a mutual love for our Savior, Christ Jesus.

The Memorial service for my sister-in-law was a testimony to a life lived in Christ. There were many people who came to share my brother’s loss. So many people lifted my niece and nephew in prayer. Being there was humbling and a reminder that we are here but for a little while.

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away (James 4:14).

My sister-in-law leaves behind in this temporal world three Christian adults who will advance the Gospel of Christ Jesus; that is the Gospel of Salvation. It is joy in my heart to know our Savior is holding her in His arms. She was a person the LORD will say “Good is My faithful servant.”

I was blessed with another treat on this visit to the West Coast. An old, old friend from my elementary school days and I were able to meet once again after nearly 50 years. Our bodies have changed, but our friendship was quickly rekindled.

His testimony parallels my own. In our youth we were rugged and spiteful. We were generally respectful and kind, but aloof. We caused unnecessary drama in the lives of those who loved us. In time, though, our Father’s Son, became more and more a brighter Light in our lives. The rebellion in our lives gave way to acceptance of His peace.

It was good to hear my old friend’s testimony. His life is joy in Christ as mine is. He strives to be a good witness for Christ Jesus. He suffered loss in this world, but he knows that lost loves will be reunited with him in heaven.

The Lord will restore to Himself all those who believe in Him. I had a brief taste of what that restoration may be like while visiting my family and friends a few days ago. The memories of all those moments from those few days with them will last long.

All honor, glory and praise to Him Who created us all.

About Jim Barnes

A man seeking to please the Lord. A man striving to abide in Christ Jesus. A man whose hope is to see just one more come into the fold.
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