Thursday, March 31, 2016

How Could I NOT Go?

How Could I NOT Go?
It was a gorgeous bright sunshiny Easter morning. A couple hundred folks from our community gathered at our high school stadium at 6:00 A.M. to celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior.
This Sunrise Service was, by far, the most memorable one I’ve ever attended. I sat there with my parents, my husband, and our two young sons. I don’t think I heard a word the speaker said. But I did pay attention to the words of the songs while trying hard to hold back tears.
The lyrics of Christ the Lord Is Risen Today (Charles Wesley 1739) and Up From the Grave He Arose (Robert Lowry 1874) struck a chord in my spirit and my emotions like never before.
You see, just two days prior to that, my 22 year old brother had died. It was on Good Friday. And yes, it was a good Friday because my brother, Tommy, had suffered from cancer for two and a half years. It was good that he was no longer in pain and it was good to know that he was a born-again believer in Jesus.
I remember looking at my parents on that bright morning and thinking about how brave they were. There they were, sitting through this service, right out in public. I knew their hearts were broken but I also knew they had fallen into the arms of their greatest Love, Jesus Himself.  
During those hard years they had cared for and prayed for their precious son—a son who had promise, hopes, and dreams.
Tommy knew where he was going when his mortal end came. He was ready to go and he knew it—and we knew it.
It was hard to comprehend that there we were, celebrating life—that is LIFE ETERNAL—LIFE at its fullest.
I sat there, as the sun dispelled the morning chill, thinking about the reality that was so surreal. Yesterday we were immersed in death—final funeral arrangements and such. Just a few days before that we were immersed in pain—watching Tommy battle physical pain and dealing with our own emotional pain.
When Mama asked me if I was going to the sunrise service I was dumfounded. I couldn’t image going to a public gathering of any kind before we even had Tommy’s funeral, which would be Monday, after Easter.
I just couldn’t see it. But then I thought, “How can I not go?”
This was what it was all about! How could I not go and honor my Lord? How could I not go and acknowledge His glorious resurrection? How could I not go and honor my brother, who was now risen with his Lord? I had to go!
I was excited to go—to go and bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While the speaker gave what I’m sure was an eloquent sermon, I didn’t hear a word. But in my mind, I could see my dear brother standing next to our risen Lord. There was Tommy, beaming with his most beautiful handsome smile.
He now knew many things that we will one day know. He was experiencing, first hand, many experiences that we look forward to in the sweet by-and-by. I knew, beyond any doubt that Tommy was in good hands, and he now possessed fullness of health, joy, peace, love, and on and on. 

That was 43 years ago and in all these years, it’s still my most memorable Easter. I thank God for such a memory.

©Connie Wohlford 2016

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