Jesus Comes Walking
I spoke an introduction this morning during our Sunday worship service about how Jesus comes to meet us in our storms. The gospels recount the story of Jesus walking on the water in the midst of a storm on the Sea of Galilee. He put the disciples in a boat, saw them off on their voyage, and went up onto a mountain to pray. The storm caught the disciples three miles from shore, and one gospel account says that Jesus could see them rowing hard against the wind.
Jesus did not stay on the mountain praying for them to survive and arrive safely. Jesus did not stand up and calm the storm with a command to be still. Instead, Jesus came walking on the waves to his disciples. He came to where they were in their trouble, and once He entered the boat, the storm ceased and "immediately" they arrived on the other side safe and sound. Jesus is an intimate savior who never leaves nor forsakes us.
After lunch and the rap discussion time, a group of us went to a local park to view the cherry blossoms and perhaps find people with whom we could share the gospel. It was a few minutes after our arrival at the park that I received word that God had answered my prayers. A message popped up on my phone from my mother. It said, "Grammy is in heaven!!" My ninety-eight-year-old grandmother had passed into eternity in her sleep. The angels came and took her to her new home in Glory.
Earlier this week when I heard that my grandmother had caught a cold, I began to pray that God's will would be done, that God would be merciful to her, and that perhaps He would allow her to fall asleep and wake up in heaven, since this was her heart's desire. She was very frail and our family knew that even a common cold could be enough to end her natural life. Grammy was ready for heaven and looked forward to meeting her Lord face to face and being reunited with loved ones who had passed on before.
My reply to my mother's message was, "Hallelujah! She's finally home. I'm happy-sad." I told the Koreans with me what happened, and I could see the care in their faces for me, and that kept me from being too sad. Pastor DeVries had mentioned the great cloud of witnesses in his message this morning, and he reminded me at dinner tonight that Grammy had joined their ranks to cheer on those of us still running the race of faith in this life.
I celebrated fifty-five birthdays with my grandmother - we shared September 28 as our birthday - sometimes together blowing out the candles on our birthday cake, sometimes far apart. I remember kissing my grandmother on her soft, wrinkly cheek last July and telling her I loved her. She hugged me with her weak, bony arms and said that she might not be there the next time I came home. She said that same thing every time I left for Korea, and I told her that if she happened to leave this earth before me I would meet her again in heaven someday.
I always knew that Gram's graduation to heaven could happen while I was here in Korea, and I even prayed that if it was God's will, would He please take her to be with Him. But now that God has answered my prayer exactly the way I hoped He would, I am still sad, because I feel so far away at this time when it would be good to have your family around you. I wish I could be there to comfort and be comforted, but I am on the other side of the world.
So, here I am, looking for Jesus to come walking to me on the waters, for Him to meet me in my boat and bring me safely to the other side of this event in my life. I am sad, but Jesus is my intimate savior who never leaves nor forsakes me. His Holy Spirit is my Helper and my Comforter and just writing those words right now has filled my heart with a peace that passes my understanding. Jesus comes walking and joins us in our boat.
To end this blog entry, I am going to add a lot of pictures of spring flowers from here in Korea, since Grammy Manzo loved flowers. I'm also going to copy and paste the words to a hymn that just came to mind, because it expresses what I'm thinking right now, especially the words, "And just the time I need Him, He's always near."
HE LIVES by Alfred Ackley
I serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today
I know that He is living whatever men may say
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer
And just the time I need Him, He's always near
He lives, He lives
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life's narrow way
He lives, He lives
Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart
In all the world around me I see His loving care
And tho' my heart grows weary I never will despair
I know that He is leading thro' all the stormy blast
The day of His appearing will come at last
Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find
None other is so loving, so good and kind