After the burial of my father, I was riding with my mother and brother out of the cemetery back to town, and I started to have this overwhelming sense of joy. It was in the middle of January, on an overcast, cold day. The snow drifts along the road were covered with soot from the windswept plowed fields of northern Iowa. It was a bleak dreary day.
Yet, here I was, inexplicably experiencing this heightened sense of joy. I said to my mother and brother, “I know this sounds odd, but I have this great feeling of joy.” They both looked at me as if I were crazy and said nothing. We drove on, but the moment of joy in me remained. The next morning while I was praying in my father’s bedroom, the following words came into my mind, “The reason for your joy yesterday was because your father is with me in heaven.” As I shared these words with my mother the tears streamed down her face as she rejoiced in knowing that her husband of 50 years was with the Lord.
This past Sunday, we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ after his tortuous and cruel death, a turning point in human history. For the Creator of all that exists completed the loving and humbling act of becoming one of us, and then willingly sacrificing his life so that we might live forever. I have no doubt that my father, and now my mother and brother are alive with the Lord Jesus in a way that we will never be able to comprehend fully ourselves until we complete a similar journey.
We may remember the words of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after Jesus appeared to them following his resurrection. “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32) Although not initially recognizing him, they said that their hearts burned within them as he spoke. My heart burned within me as I experienced that sense of joy and heard those words, “Your father is with me in heaven.”
Praise God for his plan of redemption for the human race! Praise Jesus for his humility, love and sacrifice!
Have you ever experienced the presence of God or his word that burned within your heart?