One of the most difficult challenges of the last year has been our inability to see our loved ones face to face. Our father lives in Colorado. My brothers and I had planned to take him on a fishing trip in New Mexico for his eightieth birthday in 2020. He has had another birthday since then, but none of us have seen him face to face. Not good. Perhaps, with vaccinations we will be able to see him soon. I try to imagine what that will be like.
After the brothers sold Joseph into slavery, Jacob missed a large portion of his son’s life. For a time he believed he was dead. Perhaps they imagined what it would be like to see each other again. To save his family members’ lives, Joseph invited them to join him in Egypt. On the southern boundary of the promised land, Israel (Jacob) worshiped. Once again, the God who had spoken to him at Bethel and had grappled with him by the river Jabbok spoke to him, promising to be with him and to bring him back.
In the absence of Siri, and road signs to Goshen, big brother Judah rode ahead to ask for directions. Imagine that moment when Jacob and Joseph were reunited. Joseph hugged his dad and wept. Then Jacob told him he could die in peace since he had seen his son again.
Years ago I preached a revival at Baylor University. The music for the week was provided by a group called Mercy Me. Bart Millard, the leader of the group wrote a song called, “I can only imagine,” to describe what he would do when he saw Jesus in heaven. It is the most requested song in Christian radio history. A movie by the title of his hit song tells the story of the loss of his dad to pancreatic cancer. His father suffered a brain injury and had been abusive to him until he became a believer himself. A lesser known song called Finally Home captures something of the emotions related to seeing his dad in heaven again some day.
“I'm gonna wrap my arms around my daddy's neck
And tell him that I've missed him
And tell him all about the man that I became
And hope that it pleased him
There's so much I wanna say
So much I want you to know
When I finally make it home."
Each of us who has lost a loved one wonders what it will be like when we see them again. In Christ we have the hope of seeing them. I believe we will embrace as we come to know perfectly, the same way we are perfectly known. All the time we lost with loved ones will be forgotten in the span of eternity. What will that be like? We can only imagine.