Charles Morris once brought donuts to the farm & he sat around the table talking to the kids about life and Jesus and loving well and we all laughed too loud and it was unforgettable and it was all too short. A man of deep warmth and wisdom, Charles hosts the radio program, HAVEN Today, while his wife Janet Morris helps in writing the daily messages for HAVEN Today which airs on 600 stations with 500,000 listeners around the world. Their prayer is that Living a Life that’s All About Jesus will convey the same life-changing message Charles shares on the radio and that daily changes their own lives … “it’s all about Jesus.” It’s a grace to welcome the transparent grace that is Charles and Janet to the farm’s front porch…
Our grief was raw, too raw to take up our lives again.
The Lord had given us deeply consoling realizations of His love from the moment we got the call about our son’s death.
But we were still not ready to go back home to California. Not yet.
Instead we headed south to Dallas, where we knew our friend Dan Duncan would be preaching God’s Word the following day.
Sunday morning we were there in church, listening to the call to worship with sad but expectant hearts.
Dan did a little double-take of surprise when he spotted us out in the congregation and then started preaching from Mark 9.
His sermon was about the father who brought his demon-possessed boy to Jesus for healing.
I could completely identify with the pain that father must have felt after years of watching his son self-destruct.
I could feel his desperation as he told Jesus about begging his disciples to heal his son and how they couldn’t do it.
But what about his overwhelming joy when Jesus gave him back his son, whole and healed?
A friend told us later Dan felt bad when he saw me sitting in the pew, knowing he was going to be preaching that particular story.
After all, Jesus hadn’t given our son back. No intervention for us, no celebration, just a son we finally lost, end of story.
Only it’s not the end of the story because there’s a great day rising up for those of us who believe in Jesus.
We know our grief is just a drop in the bucket when you consider the suffering of so many others.
We have a friend who barely made it to the funeral of her infant grandson because the pain of her cancer was so intense. A month later she was gone. She sat at that funeral knowing the same genetic disorder that took this little grandson’s life was threatening the life of another one of her grandsons. Two months later he was gone too at the age of seven.
Other brave believers world-wide are imprisoned for sharing their faith, sentenced to death.
How many others have endured as much or more for the sake of Jesus? If we were to pile together all the suffering of God’s people the weight would overwhelm us—except for one fact:
There’s a glory up ahead and it’s going to far outweigh all our present pain. Our suffering is not the end of the story.
For years we’d been focused on the prospect of seeing Jeff restored. We believed the Lord could do anything and we kept imagining what it would be like to see our son fully liberated and in his right mind.
We’d prayed for it, we’d expected it to happen right here in the land of the living, so when he died we were left in a state of confusion.
“Why, Lord? Why didn’t you give us back our son like you did that man?”
His response was simple. He didn’t explain; He just let us know we needed to wait.
He suffused our hearts with the hope of the glorious Day of the Lord and told us to wait for it because it’s coming soon, in just a little while.
The Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; He will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove His people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.
Those verses from Isaiah 25 gave us a much bigger hope for the future than just seeing our son again—although we trust we will.
We can almost imagine the sweet moment when Jesus will say, “Behold your son” and there he’ll be, our Jeff, completely restored to life.
But it’s not just seeing Jeff; it’s seeing Jesus that will finally heal our hearts. To see His face, to have His hand wipe away every one of those tears we still weep, to be remade in Him, to enter into His joy—that’s our hope.
And it’s more than just our own personal hope; it’s the hope of the entire world. It’s more than knowing we’ll go to heaven when we die; it’s knowing the day of the Lord is coming when Jesus will remake the cosmos.
I grew up wearing a metal brace on my polio-affected leg. At first I didn’t realize I was different but eventually the message got through. It was crushing when another child would point and whisper, “Mommy, what’s that thing on his leg?” In my teens I had corrective surgery almost every summer to help me walk. It’s one of those reminders that life here is not what it’s meant to be.
Every time I read the word lame in the Bible, it’s always pointing forward to a great healing when the lame will leap with joy.
The bodies we have now are not the end of the story.
We have a great hope, a great coming day, and right here in the midst of our pain the dawn of that expected day is shining its joyous light.
I have the promise that my body is going to be remade as part of the great remaking of the cosmos.
Richard Llewellyn’s novel How Green Was My Valley tells the story of a coal mine in Wales that provided income for the locals and fuel for thousands of furnaces and stoves. The downside was that it slowly filled the valley with slag. The book is a lament over the loss of beauty, but it ends with the day of the Lord breaking through and restoring the freshness and verdant beauty of the earth.
One day the world will be subsumed by a healing glory and all the things we love will still be there.
The slag will be gone, the polio will be gone, and the world will be filled with joy—
all sweet and no bitter.
Missing Jesus: Find Your Life in His Great Story is about not missing Him. It’s about seeing Him big. It’s about having our lives re-centered on the glorious Son of God all over again. Charles and Janet Morris wanted to know what happens when we stop missing Jesus, and now they’re sharing what they’ve learned. Together Charles and Janet have co-authored three books, Missing Jesus, Jesus in the Midst of Success and Saving a Life.
Sometimes that feeling that we’re missing something – is because we are really missing Someone. Nothing aches like missing Jesus. Every page of this needed book welcomes you closer into His heart again. Nothing can be better than this. Highly Recommend, a book that made my heart sing: Missing Jesus: Find Your Life in His Great Story