This past weekend found me transported back in time. Way back! I was on the West Coast for a reunion.
Forty years ago, when I was a 15-year-old sophomore in high school my family moved from Northern Virginia to Southern California. We moved in the middle of the school year to a place where we literally knew no one. Most people might think that would be a traumatic experience for an adolescent, but not so for me. That move proved to be a most positive life-change for me.
Because our family was Christian, Mom and Dad made sure the first Sunday we were in town we found a church to attend. Guess what? It was not just any church…it was the right church for us. And for the next 19 months that we lived there the influence of that church – especially the youth of the church – played a huge role in shaping my life.
So now, every few years the youth group of that era in the 1970’s get together to re-connect. What’s most interesting is that the church no longer exists, but there indeed is a “tie that binds”, even four decades later.
Reunions are great times, whether they are family, school, military units, whatever. Rekindling those relationships forged long ago brings great joy as we hear each other’s stories, both old and new.
Reunion is also part of the Christian faith. The “blessed hope” of the believer is that one day we will be reunited in heaven forever with those who have gone before us, and most importantly, we’ll be in the presence of the Lord. It’s something we anticipated.
What will happen then? Well, one thing is that we will be changed. As my long ago friends and I began to gather Saturday it became clear that we weren’t quite the same as we were in high school! A few more pounds. A bit less hair. Glasses adorned most faces. We were the same people…but different. Age does that!
The Bible tells us that when we get to heaven a transformation will take place in our bodies. Paul encouraged the Corinthian church with these words about that future day:
“Listen! I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.” – 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
We won’t be the same, yet we’ll recognize each other. I had no problem at the reunion recognizing long ago friends – even those I had not seen since 1973. In heaven, although we’ll be given perfect bodies, they will somehow still be recognizable to those who knew us and “we’ll be known as we are known”. Different, but greatly improved! Maybe best of all the lame will walk, the blind will see. Our physical limitations and handicaps will be gone forever.
If you belong to Jesus the Holy Spirit lives within you as the guarantee that you’ll arrive at your heavenly destination safely and forever. It’s where Jesus is and all who have died before you in Him. It will be a time of great reunion.
The good news is that Christ is preparing heaven right now for all who have put their trust in Him. And He guarantees they will arrive there one day safe and sound. The old hymn says, “What a day of rejoicing that will be!”
I hope to see you there!