Goodbye, Aunt Jody … See you soon.
Earlier this week my Aunt “Jody” Groves Thompson, age 85, went to glory to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She is now also with many of her family who have been taken home before her.
I, personally, have not been back to the green hills and beautiful misty-river valleys of old PA for many years. I guess, like the Sacketts in Louie L’Amour novels, when I headed west in my twenties with my young family, I became part of the “Far Blue Mountains,” The High Country, commonly known as the Rocky Mountains. Since then I’ve headed back east only on rare occasions. But the memories of Aunt Jody and the entire Groves family back in PA ̶ all good memories ̶ have lingered.
The whole clan was known back then as the Groves family (although each of my Aunts had their last names changed, as I remember, as quickly as possible! Wink!) Thinking back on my growin’ up years, back when I was a brat kid (My sister, Judy, would say I’m still a brat kid!) I remember the fun times I enjoyed with all of my uncles and aunts and their families.
I also remember how much love and support they all showed my family, simply because life at home was not always the best. Putting it all in perspective I could honestly say that each individual in this family, both aunts and uncles, and especially Grandma Groves herself, were the most amazing and wonderful people I could have had as an extended family as I grew up. My Lord used each one to contribute with advice, abundant help and by personal example to guide me and help make me a Christian man I would never have become without them.
I began this blog by saying, “Goodbye, Aunt Jody … See you soon.” Now don’t you get the idea for a split second that I said that without meaning, as though it was some old cliché, a worn out platitude spoken offhand. No, no, no! Not on your eternal life!
I said goodbye from my heart, to a loved one whom I will miss but know beyond doubt I will see again soon ̶ in Heaven. Soon? Like in a few days or weeks? Or soon as in a year or two, or maybe ten or 20? What does it matter? Compared to eternity I will see Aunt Jody “soon.” The Lord even spoke to Sue and I through Jeannie (Aunt Jody’s daughter) and suggested we send Jody yellow flowers ̶ her favorite ̶ to enjoy before she left on her trip, because that trip would be “soon.”
“What trip are you talking about,” you might ask. Well, her trip to heaven, of course! You see, her body was buried to await resurrection but her spirit, her soul was called out of her body up to heaven to be with her Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul once said:
Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8. ESV.
And when Jesus Himself was on the cross, the thief beside him asked:
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:42-44. ESV.
“So,” you might ask, “Aunt Jody might have been good enough to be taken to heaven after her death but what about you, Carlie? I’ve heard that you were a pretty bad character back in the days. How could a sinner like you think you would ever be good enough to get into heaven? How could you be so sure you would ever see Aunt Jody “Soon,” if ever?
The Bible answer to that question is this: getting into heaven is not based on how good a person we have been in this earthly life. Again, the apostle Paul said:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of (good) works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8 and 9. ESV.
“Well, if getting into heaven is not based on “living a good life,” then what IS the secret?”
I knew you were going to ask me that and the answer is simple. Think carefully about what I’m going to say next.
First, all human beings are sinners:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. NIV,
Second, we owe a debt to God for the sins of our life:
“For the wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23a. NIV.
Third, because God loves us, He has already paid our debt so we could go free in His courtroom; that is, so we could go to heaven when we die.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. NIV.
Last, God wants to give us eternal life as a free gift! All we have to do is believe with simple, child-like faith, that Jesus Christ died on the cross as our substitute, and accept God’s free gift.
“… the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23b. NIV.
So you see, God the Father made eternal life easy to have by sending His Own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die in our place on that cross 2000 years ago.
If you have not yet accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord of your life, accept His free gift of eternal life today. Simply ask Him to come into your life, wash away your sins and help you turn away from any sin that clings to you, and ask Him to establish His loving rule and reign in your heart and life.
I have written on this subject of eternal life many times and from many angles over the past three or more years in my blogs and also in the booklets at the top, left of this page under “Booklets.” Several of the booklets have audio of the text included.
Thank you for hearing my heart.
We love you all,
Carl and Sue