The Sign of the Covenant

On this day, 11 years ago, our second son was killed in a car accident.

Some time after that, our family was returning home at night after a very emotional day of dealing with matters concerning the incident.

It had been raining, but the clouds were making way for a clear evening.
The rising moon was glowing in the eastern sky as we arrived at our house.

Something strange and unusual, however, was in the western sky.
We had never seen anything like it.
I tried to photograph the scene, but it was too dark outside.

Looking past our roof, there appeared to be a rainbow.
A rainbow in the dark!

Rushing inside, I quickly went to the computer and typed in something like, “rainbows at night.”

To my surprise, it was a phenomenon that was well documented.
We were looking at a moon bow, or by another name, a lunar rainbow.

Being quite rare, none of us had ever seen one.

As far as I know, no one in our family has seen one since.

Now, I know that rainbows have a purpose…

In the Bible, we have the account of the flood that covered the earth.
When the flood was over, God spoke:

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

This account is found in Genesis 9:8-16.

I think God sent the moon bow to me and my family that night long ago.

It proclaimed God’s work of beauty in the sky in a way previously unknown to us.

At the time, I knew in my heart that this occurrence was very special.
Even now, as I think back to that evening when our hearts were hurting, I see God’s comfort in a mighty way.

Could it be that He was reminding us of a covenant He had made about our eternity?

If you have ever “lost” a child in a store or in a park, you’ve felt that sick, empty fear, wondering desperately where they were.

God promises us that whoever believes in His Son, Jesus, will live forever with Him in Heaven.

In John 11:25-26, Jesus is speaking to a woman named Martha, whose brother had just died:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

When we found out that our son had died, it was like a giant door weighing tons had just been shut, separating us.

In that first instant, something deep inside my heart as his mother had to cry out silently from within, wondering desperately where he was.

The answer to that cry is found in Jesus’ words above.

Our son had professed his belief in God and in Jesus many years before his death.
I still have the worn Bible that he read from every night.

The lunar rainbow?

Was it God reminding me then— and even now as I recall it— that my son was with His Son, in Heaven?

A covenant of redemption that would not be broken for those who belong to Jesus?

Our son is in Heaven, yet I remain here.

I believe that if he could talk to me now, he would want me to tell others how they could be in Heaven someday, too.

As I think of him tonight, the memories are huge in my heart.

But, I know this:
Our son is alive in Heaven.

I will see him again…

sign-covenant

I Will Dwell

I went to a funeral today.

As I sat in the church listening to the pastor speak about my elderly friend, the words landed on my heart in agreement with what I already knew.

This man had lived his life for God and in service to the people around him.

A constant flow of care from God to him and from him to others, was evident.

Always encouraging, he spoke to me personally many times in appreciation of my efforts.

Speaking regularly in front of the congregation on Sundays, he would inspire those in the pews before him to gather together to help feed the needy in the community.

He gave of his own resources to equip other people as they heard God’s call to service.

As a loving husband, he cared for his ailing wife at home.

Listening to the pastor speak this morning, I learned that even as he was very ill and in the hospital, he was still showing paramount concern for other people.

The tone of the hour was reflective and loving as each person remembered their own experiences with this Christ-like gentleman.

There were tears and, at times, laughter, as his humor was recalled.

A sense of peace and joy could be felt as we sang the lyrics to “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art.”

Psalm 23 was printed in the order of service for everyone to read.

Our dear friend had lived his life in a close relationship with God.

That relationship did not end with his death; it simply continued on in a seamless passage from this earth to Heaven, where His Savior was waiting.

Knowing this brings great comfort when it is time to say goodbye…

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

–Psalm 23:6

 

surely goodness

 

 

Cast All

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

—1 Peter 5:7

 

Yesterday, there was a terrible tragedy about an hour’s drive from my home.

People all over the world are talking about it.

Because of our technological capabilities, people all over the world can learn of breaking news in moments.

While being informed is a good thing, it can sometimes be overwhelming, as well.

When I check the news headlines, I get an overview of all the major occurrences across the globe.

Politics, science, war.

Health, sports, natural disasters.

Weather, entertainment, economics.

When horrific things happen–like yesterday’s tragedy–it’s too great to comprehend.

There is so much to take in.

It’s overwhelming for me.

And what about those who are directly affected?

I can only imagine their consuming emotion.

What is there to do?

1 Peter 5:7 reads, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

God is greater than anything we could ever envision.

When we are anxious and troubled, distraught and undone, we can cast our emotions on Him and look to Him to comfort and to heal.

cast all

 

Let Not Your Hearts

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It’s hard to say goodbye.

When someone that you love has left this world, there is a pain that is unlike any other.

An empty chair at the table.

An empty bed.

A photograph of times gone by.

For those who love the Lord, the pain and grief of loved ones left behind will be replaced one day in Heaven with rejoicing as they are reunited.

Knowing this deep within our hearts is a testimony of faith and God’s Spirit within us.

Jesus said,

 

“Let not your hearts be troubled.

Believe in God;

believe also in Me.

In My Father’s house are many rooms.

If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.

And you know the way to where I am going.”

—John 14:1-4

 

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To Be With Me

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It really needed to be done.

It was definitely time to throw some things away, straighten up, clean and rearrange.

The “office” room is where my computer lives, along with two bookshelves that are packed and a host of other important (to me) items.

Things like old photo albums, camera boxes and a microphone stand.

A hard hat that I wore while on a tree logging tour. (What????)

A wooden back scratcher given to me while staying at a cottage on the Gulf of Mexico.

Even a hand made (but not functional) shofar used in one of the musicals I directed years ago.

You know…..stuff like that.

While going through a stack of papers, I found a little Polaroid photograph of our second son as a young child.

As I recall, there was an event at church where children were supposed to dress up as animals.

One of the men at the church dressed as Noah.

Each child could have their portrait made with Noah.

According to the sign on the wall in the picture, portraits were available for 50 cents each.

Years later, our son was killed in a car accident as a teenager…..

As I picked up the old photo of our son and the “pretend” Noah, there was a split second of grief shooting into my heart.

Following right behind it with lightning speed, these words came to my mind:

“He’s with the “real” Noah, now.”

Yes.

That’s right.

My son knew Jesus while here on Earth, and God has given me assurance that he is in Heaven right now.

I don’t think I’ve ever considered that my son is able to see Noah and talk to him.

It just hadn’t crossed my mind.

What was the cost to be with Noah in Heaven?

Much more than all the money in world.

It cost the death of Jesus on the cross.

My son is with Jesus today, along with Noah and countless others.

Now, when I look at that picture, joy springs forth.

Thank You, God, for bringing comfort out of pain. Thank You for salvation and the promise of Heaven for those who believe.

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Jesus said,

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”

—John 14:1-4

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the place