“Grandpa! I had a funny dream last night!” I exclaimed while my grandmother prepared my breakfast.
“What kind of dream did you have, sweetheart?”
“I dreamed I was at the top of a hill where the grass was so thick and dark green it felt like plush carpet. The sky was as blue as one could imagine, and just as I started to race down the hill in my bare feet, I grabbed your hand.”
Grandpa listened intently as I continued, “But, Grandpa, when I looked at you, you were my age! Your hair was the color of amber, and your hands were youthful, showing no wrinkles or spots!”
A wry smile illuminated my grandmother’s face as if she knew something I didn’t, and with a twinkle in her eyes, she explained.
“Sweetheart, you just were given a glimpse of Heaven. And, one day after we leave this earth, I will meet you there, and we will race down that hill barefooted.”
I was in my teens when I sat in Grandpa’s kitchen describing my dream. And to this day, I believe with all my heart that I will see her again in a place where there are no weeds, no storm clouds, and no age.
A man name Jesus suffered and died on a cross 2,021 years ago. He rose from the dead to tell the world there was a Heaven where sin is gone, and folks run down grassy slopes with no fear of falling. And Grandpa and I believed him.
Some pave the way for us to see a glimpse of Heaven. Those precious family members, friends, and teachers take our tiny hands and guide us toward faith. I was one of those who learned of Christ before I could write my name. I had no doubt there was a God or a Heaven because I watched my family pray, read a Bible, and trust the Lord. They sent me to Sunday School and made me sit still in church. I thank God every day for them and the grandmother who assured me I would see her again. Grandpa never lied.
This Easter, there are well over 2.5 million people who long to see the face of a loved one who succumbed to COVID. Countless others left families because of age, disasters, other illnesses, suicide, and murders. Hearts broke, tears fell, and the world’s people have suffered immeasurably since the spring of 2020. If ever we all needed to fall to the feet of the risen Lord, it is now. If ever we need to rely on our faith, it is today. Now is not the time to turn away but to run to the open arms of God. We desperately need him to forgive us our selfishness, stubbornness and remind us that we are his children.
Grandpa lived 97 years, and during those years I did see her suffer. But she had no doubt that one day the pain would end and living would continue.
When my brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in his early 50s, he noticed my sad face one day and tried to cheer me.
“Guess what, Lynn!” he said with that same wry smile our grandmother exhibited. “I am going to Heaven before you and eat all of Grandpa’s biscuits and homemade jelly before you get there!”
Today, when I think of my departed family, I imagine they are laughing around a breakfast table eating Grandpa’s amazing biscuits and jam along with Jesus, who would never miss such goodness. This vision always makes me smile because I also notice there is an empty chair waiting for me.
Faith is the blessing the Cross left us. We have a choice as to whether we pick it up and carry it forward or not. If we want to really heal and help others along the way, it might be a good idea to embrace its power. A belief in the Lord has encouraged me to climb from many valleys of despair and grief. The hand of God has pulled me from many an abyss and given me hope and an unbridled determination to press forward.
Just before my father died in 1999, I walked toward the head of his bed and whispered, “Dad, are you scared?” Without missing a beat, he answered, “What is there to be afraid of?” Then, as if they heard him, the angels took him home without a shred of fear in his soul.
That is what Easter gave my father. Christ rising from death and, walking among those who lived on earth, assuring us all that we will run on grassy hills with those we love once again if only we believe.