by Tony Nester

Heaven Is Prepared for Us
Tony R. Nester
John 14:1-3

(Read passage in NRSV)

Jesus was no stranger to grief. He felt its awful
power to turn us inside out. He experienced the
emptiness, the sadness, and the loneliness that grief
produces in us.

- Jesus wept at the tomb of his friend, Lazarus. (John
- His heart went out to widow who had just lost her
only son (Luke 7:11-13).
- He responded to the plea of a Roman Centurion who
begged him to go and save his young daughter who was
at the point of death (Mark 6:41).

Jesus felt the power of grief when he faced his coming
death on the cross. During that awful night in
Gethsemane Matthew's Gospel reports that he opened up
his heart to his disciples:

(Matthew 26:38 NRSV) Then he said to them, "I am
deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay
awake with me."

Some years ago a family lost their little boy who died
in the weeks before Christmas. The father was
inconsolable, and even the time-tested remedy of work
failed to alleviate his grief. He was a "nixie clerk"
at the post office which meant that before Christmas
he rerouted letters addressed to "Santa Claus, North
Pole," and that involved reading them for helpful

One day he was startled to see among the letters one
written in a familiar hand bearing his own home
address in the upper left hand corner. It was from
his own daughter who asked Santa not to bring her
anything that year. Instead, she requested that when
he came to her house at Christmas he take her
brother's favorite playthings, especially his wooden
horse, for she knew he must be missing them in heaven.
Then she added:

"And if you could give Daddy something that would make
him stop crying I wish you would. I heard him say to
Mommy that only eternity could cure him. If you could
send him some of that I'll be your good little girl,

That father was correct — on ...

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