Rebecca loved her grandpa! How many of you have to travel quite a ways to see your grandma and grandpa? And some of you can only go to visit them for a vacation or for Christmas? Well, Rebecca was lucky because her grandma and grandpa lived in the same town she did. In fact, the school bus dropped her off at their house after school every day to wait until her Mom got off work and picked her up.
The best thing about Grandpa was he had time. Grandma was often busy preparing dinner, doing church work, tidying up the house. But Grandpa would always put down whatever he was doing when she arrived, pour her a big glass of lemonade, and just look her in the eye and listen to whatever she had to tell him about her day. Then some days they worked on the big puzzle they were putting together, some days they washed the car, some days they went to the library and then curled up to read, some days they ran errands, whatever, Grandpa was always there.
One morning Mother told Rebecca that she would not be going to Grandpa and Grandma’s after school. Grandpa wasn’t feeling well, she said. He was going to see the doctor. Rebecca was sorry Grandpa was sick, but she wasn’t too worried. She got sick sometimes, but with a day or two in bed or perhaps a quick trip to the doctor, she was all right. She never even thought about how she would feel if Grandpa didn’t get better. Well, Grandpa did get better, for a while, but soon there were many days when Rebecca couldn’t go to Grandma and Grandpa’s after school, because Grandpa just needed to rest. So she had to go to a friend’s house instead.
One afternoon, just before school let out for the day, the teacher called Rebecca to the door of the classroom. Standing just outside, she saw her pastor waiting. Teacher said that Mother had called and told her that the pastor was going to pick Rebecca up after school and take her home. Rebecca thought this was strange, but since her mother had called the teacher, she thought everything was okay. Rebecca liked the pastor, and they talked all the way home. But when they arrived, Rebecca saw several cars parked in the driveway. There was Grandma’s car, and Aunt Suzie’s car, and Daddy’s car. What were all these people doing over in the middle of the afternoon, Rebecca wondered. When she went into the house, she met Mother in the hall. Her eyes were red like she had been crying. She put her arm around Rebecca and pulled her close. “You know that Grandpa has been very sick,” she said. “Well, today his heart just couldn’t pump any more blood so it stopped. Grandpa died this afternoon. He will sleep now until Jesus comes to wake him up. Then we will all go to heaven together.”
Then Rebecca began to cry too. She knew Grandpa loved Jesus, and she knew that she loved Jesus, so she was sure they would be together in heaven. But she still felt sad about not having Grandpa with her right now. Who would take her to the library? And how would they finish the puzzle? And who would have time for her every day after school? Mother said it was all right to cry. It was all right to miss Grandpa now. Someone in everybody’s family dies sooner or later, because death is a very sad part of living in a sinful world. But Rebecca was sure glad for Jesus.
Now she was beginning to understand more about why He came to die on the cross. The pastor said at Grandpa’s funeral that Jesus died so that everyone who dies but who loves Him will only sleep for a short time until Jesus wakes them up.
Some of you may know how Rebecca was feeling. Maybe someone close to you has died. Aren’t you glad for Jesus, too? Jesus is always with us when we feel sad. When we cry, the Bible says Jesus cries too. That’s because He loves us so much. He came here to be with us because He wanted to share in our troubles. And now He is making preparation to come again so that everything that makes us sad will be wiped away, and everything will be made new. I’m looking forward to that day, aren’t you?
By Karen Flowers
Source: Family Seasons: Family Ministries Planbook. Silver Spring, MD; Department of Family Ministries, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1996.