"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
May 20, 2015
The past couple of weeks have been filled with a lot of high school graduations. This closes a chapter for many students and opens the door to another. High school students are filled with anticipation of what the future holds in store for them. Some are excited about the prospects of college, while others have jobs lined up, and then there are those who really have no idea what they want to pursue in life, so are filled with worry from the stress of trying to make a life decision.
Graduation day holds mixed emotions for many students. There are those who thoroughly loved school and had lots of friends and were involved in activities, so saying goodbye is difficult for them to do. Then there are those who didn't particularly excel or care for school, so they are just excited to be finished. You may have friends that you think you will keep in touch with, and some likely do, but many times your lives take different directions and you end up losing touch.
The truth is, graduation means change. Regardless of whether you choose to attend college, get a job, get married, move away, or stay home; it's going to alter your life. Therefore, it is going to alter the lives of those who know and love you. If you leave home, it's going to change your parents lives. If you attend a different college from your best friends, it's going to alter that relationship when you no longer see them regularly and aren't involved in activities together. If you get married, that's a whole other ballgame. Not only does the graduate have to adapt to the new changes in their life, those around them also have to adapt.
I have heard the death of a christian referred to as graduation day; meaning that they graduate from this life to the next. The time has arrived for them to move on from this life to the next.
2 Timothy 4:7 (NLT) says, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful."
Graduation day for our loved ones means a change for family and friends left behind. Even though we are happy for them, knowing that they're with Jesus, it means a big change for us. We have to adapt to a new normal without them being with us. Life moves on, and although our hearts grieve, we rejoice in their eternal accomplishment. They have reached the goal that they've been working and longing for; and they will never again experience the sorrow, sickness, pain, suffering, hardship, stress, worry, fear, and burdens that life on earth often brings.
Coming up in a few days is Memorial weekend. Although the original purpose was to set aside a special day to honor those in our Armed Forces who gave their lives while fighting for our country, today it has evolved to even more significance for many of us. Many have made it a time to "decorate" the graves of their loved ones by placing flowers on them, as a way of remembering and honoring them. The graveyard where my family members are buried is always a colorful array of beautiful flowers following Memorial weekend. It's really something special to see.
Even more spectacular and special to see is the legacy that someone who has graduated into eternal life has left behind in the heart and lives of others.
When my Parton relatives get together, there are always stories and special memories of aunts, uncles, and cousins who have left this world for Heaven. There's generally laughter, and sometimes tears, as we reminisce about our past and those who impacted our lives.
I often think about Mama and Daddy and the legacy they left behind in five daughters and their families. I miss them and have wondered many times what their advice would be on different matters. I've wished for a hug from my Mama. But honestly, as much as I grieved for them upon their passing and as much as I've missed them, I wouldn't wish them back.
When a student has graduated from high school, how selfish and thoughtless would it be if their parents decided, "Oh this is too hard! I want my child back at home with me like they used to be. I don't like these changes;" so they forced their 18 year old child back into high school all over again. Their teenager wouldn't like it, because high school isn't going to be the same as it was for them when they were there. It wouldn't be natural for a kid to remain in high school until a parent felt like they were able to let go and allow them to grow up.
It's the same when someone has graduated from this life to the next. How selfish and thoughtless would we be if we decided, "Oh this is too hard without them here! I want my loved one back with me like they used to be." If possible, would we really wish them back from the presence of Jesus; would we want them to leave that perfect place that has been prepared for them by God Himself, to bring them back to this sin-filled world filled with wickedness, sorrow, sickness, pain, suffering, corruption, and the list could go on and on.......? The thing is, if they should come back, this world would have changed for them and they wouldn't fit in anymore. They lived their earthly life, and the time came for them to move on to what was next. It wouldn't be the natural way of things to make them stay here until we felt ready to let them go, because honestly, that time would never come. We are not created to spend eternity on earth, but to spend eternity in our heavenly, perfect bodies in Heaven with Jesus.
The truth is, until the rapture occurs (which no man knows the day nor hour when it will happen), there will come a time when all of us will die. We can't all stay here forever. Either we're going to grieve a loved one, or a loved one will grieve us; depending on which dies first. That's a fact of life! But perhaps we can begin considering it as graduation day. Some will reach it before us, and we will reach it before others; but it's something that will happen for us all. We will all one day graduate from this life to the next, but we'll be receiving a whole lot more than just a diploma on a piece of paper. We will be receiving a crown of life, eternal life, and living in the presence of God!!! That sounds pretty awesome!
I really disliked high school. I would say I hated it, but I really hated junior high. At one point, I realized that the bullies and jerks that bugged me so much weren't so important, and high school was a little more tolerable.
But I loved college. It took a while to get to know other students, but I knew most of them didn't know anyone else, either. And once I started getting to know others, it was great.
I don't know what I would have done if my parents had insisted I go back, and start junior high all over again. I know I wouldn't have cooperated.
1 Samuel 28 tells about King Saul making a seer summon the spirit of Samuel. Samuel asked in verse 15, "Why have you disturbed me by bring me up?" In my mind, he sounds very angry, but it is probably open to interpretation. I'm just sure that if I was ever brought back out of my rest in heaven, I'd be pretty upset.
1 can crescent rolls
1-2 Tablespoons milk
1 pound sausage- cooked
Brown sausage; drain. Pat down crescent rolls in bottom of 9x13 pan for crust. Layer with hashbrowns, sausage, and mushrooms. Whip up eggs with the milk and pour evenly over the top. Salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes until eggs are set.
Note: You can add or substitute any toppings you prefer; bacon, onion, green peppers, ham, etc.
My mother-in-law, Diane Gray, has just recently had her first book published. 'The Promise of the Sunflowers' is the true life story of Franz Elmer, who was a young German boy living in Yugoslavia during WWII. This book tells of the hardships he and his family had to endure. This book is different in the fact that instead of focusing on the Jews and Holocaust, it focuses on the poverty and fear and hardships that the German people dealt with; especially those living outside of Germany. The story is very interesting and enlightening. If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it in either Kindle or paperback form from Amazon.
** Since this is a christian website, and I am recommending the book, I will make the disclaimer that the book does have a few curse words.
"You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you." - John Bunyan
We love you!
Loretta & Jon