by Welby O’Brien
Summer is a popular time for reunions, whether family, school, military or other common bonds. We have already attended several, and more are on the schedule. But what I experienced last week truly woke me up, and I will never again look at reunions in the same way.
Sizzling barbecued burgers, laughter, and lots of hugs are part of the leisurely time of reconnecting and reminiscing with those with whom we share physical bonds. We talk about those who are no longer with us, tell stories and share memories, and often discover things we had not known. A time of mixed emotions based on the past. We are looking backward.
Then there is a totally different kind of reunion. Last week I was honored to participate in the memorial service for a dear friend. Through teary eyes we reflected on her life, well lived for the Lord, and also looked ahead at her future with Him forever. In spite of our sadness in missing her, it was such a joy to celebrate her new life and to reconnect with people we had not seen in years. It was a joy that made me almost feel guilty.
Then it hit me: the deep true joy of this reunion was future focused! And the bonds far exceed mere physical limitations. When all we have is the earthbound tie of the physical past, there is something missing. And no hope. Truthfully, it can be depressing. But when we are able to look forward, based on the promises of our God Who never lies, and our paid debt on the cross by our Savior, our souls are touched and united with true peace. And joy!
In these future focused reunions, reflecting on our past as believers confirms that there has been – and will be – a purpose for it all. And knowing it will be our own memorial service at some point motivates us to seek the Lord and his truth and life even more fervently.
And for me, the greatest motivation is knowing that the ultimate reunion in Heaven is the one I do not want to miss!
“In the fullness of the times, He will gather together in one all things in Christ.”
Welby O’Brien holds a teaching degree from Biola University and a Master’s Degree in counseling from Portland State University. She is the author of Good-bye for Now, and Formerly A Wife, and LOVE OUR VETS: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD (www.LoveOurVets.org). She is also a contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Divorce and Recovery, Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Spirit of America, as well as Shepherding Women in Pain. www.welbyo.com