"Don't go anywhere. I'll be right down. I need to talk with you both." The urgency of her voice gave Julie a touch of anxiety.
#79- True Riches
A Character story about security.
"Winter's just begun and I'm already tired of it," Julie sighed as she walked home with her twin brother Jason.
"Yeah?" Jason mumbled as he bit off another mouthful of his apple.
"If I had gotten the skates I wanted for Christmas, I could at least go skating. There's nothing to look forward to."
"You could play with the new computer games I got," Jason offered.
"I played with them enough over the holiday. I'm already bored with them. There isn't anything exciting to look forward to."
"Yeah, you said that. I know. You can watch me play hockey tomorrow night."
"Woopie," Julie sneered.
When they arrived home, Julie plopped her books down on the table and began to take off her coat.
"Julie? Jason? Is that you?" Mrs. Jensen called from upstairs.
"Yeah, Mom," Jason returned.
"Don't go anywhere. I'll be right down. I need to talk with you both." The urgency of her voice gave Julie a touch of anxiety. She finished hanging up her coat as her mother descended the stairs.
"What is it, Mom? Is something wrong?" Julie asked.
"Yes, I'm afraid there is. I got a call this afternoon about your Grandma Jensen and I've been trying to get ahold of your father ever since."
"What about Gramma?" Jason asked.
"Be patient and I'll tell you what I know. Earlier this morning Grandma had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. I guess right now she is in stable condition but it's still touch and go."
"You-you mean Gramma might d-die?" Julie gasped.
"That is a possibility, Honey. We'll just have to pray for the Lord's will to be done."
"But she's got to get well," Julie insisted. "She just can't die. She just can't!"
"Well, Honey. We would sure love to have Grandma around longer. But if God is finished with her here, wouldn't it be better for her to be in heaven? I mean, for a Christian, death is not a punishment but a promotion."
"I know, but I don't know what we'd do without Gramma."
"If she did die, we'd go to the funeral, wouldn't we?" Jason asked.
"Of course," Mrs. Jensen affirmed. "But it's not time to make any plans like that just yet. The Lord will have to give us patience and flexibility for now."
"Well," Jason remarked, looking toward his sister, "you wanted something exciting to happen. This ought to be exciting enough."
"I wasn't thinking of anything like this."
That evening as Mr. Jensen hung up, the phone, the family stood by, anxious for a report.
"She continues in stable condition. Things are looking a little more promising and Uncle Paul said he didn't think it was necessary for me to come just yet. I guess we'll just continue to pray and wait."
Julie plopped into a chair and sighed deeply. After several moments of silence, she commented, "You know, things like this have a way of changing what seems important. A few hours ago I was feeling sorry for myself that I didn't get the skates I wanted; now skates don't seem very important at all."
"That's how I feel about the math test tomorrow," Jason added. "I don't know how I'm going to concentrate with Gramma's sickness on my mind."
I know just how you both feel," Mr. Jensen affirmed. "But it is altogether different when a Christian faces death. We have the promise that 'to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.' Death is only the door through which we enter the joy of our Lord."
"I know," Julie said, "but I'd still cry if Gramma did die."
Mrs. Jensen put her arm around her daughter. "It's O.K. to cry, Honey. The Bible does not say we will not sorrow, but rather that we don't sorrow as others who have no hope. Our hope is based on the promises of God's Word, which cannot change."
"I can't get over how fast things can change," Jason commented. "Yesterday Gramma was healthy, and today she's . . . well . . . fighting for her life."
"I've been thinking about that too," Mr. Jensen answered. "Things can change that fast for all of us. And when we're fighting for our lives, or rooting for someone else who is, it's like you said- other things don't seem so important. In fact, the Lord has asked us to live in this life ready to go at any moment. He said, 'Be ye therefore ready . . .' What do you think we should do to be ready for death, or for the coming of the Lord Jesus to take us to heaven?"
"The most important is to accept Jesus as our Saviour," Julie offered immediately, "and I know Gramma has done that."
"Yes, many years before I was born," Mr. Jensen smiled. "What else could we do to be ready?"
"I know the Bible talks about being ashamed at His coming," Jason said. "If we are obeying what God says in the Bible, then I don't think we'd be ashamed."
"Good for you. You know, that reminds me of the first few times I went on a trip. I took too much and had to carry those heavy suitcases through the airport. Then someone told me this little adage: 'experienced travellers pack lightly.' After that, I only took what I needed, and it was so much easier. The Bible says that Christians are 'sojourners.' Do you know what that means?"
"I think it means 'travellers who aren't home yet,'" Mrs. Jensen offered.
"Right. The Lord does not want us to get weighted down with the cares and things of this world. When we do, it makes thoughts of moving on to heaven more difficult to love."
"You two named the most important ways we can be ready to leave," Mrs. Jensen added. "In fact, these two are the theme of the song, 'Trust and Obey,' aren't they? Trusting Him for the future, and obeying Him in the present."
"Hey, that's right," Julie exclaimed.
"You know, Dad," Jason mused, "kids my age don't think much about dying. Of course some kids die before they grow up, but most of us don't. It's kind of hard to get others to think about getting ready now for something that probably won't happen for a long time."
"That's a good point, Son. But there are at least three reasons why it is still important to get ready now. First, we never know when we might die. Second, we have the promise that Jesus will come again and then it will be too late to get ready. Third, by living a life obedient to Him we are getting the very most from life! A godly, obedient life is the best kind of life."
"That's sure true of Gramma," Julie agreed. "You can just see what Jesus must have been like when you're with her. That's what I would miss most if she died- her friendship and good example."
"Well," Mrs. Jensen said with a smile, squeezing Julie again, "maybe the Lord wants you to be the one to take her place."