I am on vacation at my every-other-year family reunion. They’re fun. I don’t live too close to any of my relatives, so I don’t get to see them all the time, and I cherish the opportunity to see them when I can.
There’s the pre-reunion reunion. People start arriving from all over the country days ahead of the actual 2-day event and get reacquainted with one another. We meet at different people’s homes and restaurants and go walking on the wharf or bay and talk and eat and talk some more. We meet new family members—babies, boyfriends or girlfriends—and catch up on family members who have retired or had surgeries or passed away. We have several family friends who have been friends of our family for decades. We treat them like family and love on them and keep caught up with them.
There’s the actual reunion: a weekend of more talking and eating and talking and photos and family games and talking and eating and dancing and talking and eating and political discussions and eating. I got plied again with questions about any man I might be dating or possibly even be interested in. Maybe next time says their curious or apologetic looks.
Then there’s the post-reunion reunion. People stick around for days to shop and talk and eat out and talk and travel to nearby locations to visit and eat and talk. One by one, over the next several days, we drive or fly back to our homes with new treasured memories and fresh snippets of our family history. We plan to be at the next reunion in two years.
Does your family ever have reunions, or wish you could make it to one? Or… maybe wish you didn’t have to?
I was thinking, heaven is sort of, but not exactly like, a family reunion. It’s more like the ultimate family reunion.
For one thing, the only people who will be in heaven will be family members. In the Bible, family members are all believers, people who are children of God, disciples of Jesus; Philippians 3:20 and Ephesians 2:19-22. Everyone who is in the family of God was born again spiritually as they were adopted into the family, Ephesians 1:5. God has no grandchildren, Romans 8:14-17. And, as much as we love our family friends, there will be no “family friends” in heaven, being allowed in and out privileges.
Heaven is exclusive, in that you can only get in by being born again spiritually, John 3:3. Heaven’s one requirement is that you can only be born again spiritually by receiving and following Jesus Christ as Lord and not just as Savior. However, heaven’s one requirement makes it possible for anyone and everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus to get in.
For another thing, when we get to heaven, we won’t have to leave it ever again. We won’t have to fly back to our regular homes and cherish memories. Heaven will be our regular home forever and ever, Revelation 22:1-6.
For a third thing, the Bible teaches that there will be nothing that corrupts there. There will be no sin or sinful presence or evil in any form there. There will be no remembrances of our former life on earth as humans there, good or bad (Isaiah 25:8 and 65:17; Revelation 21:4-6). There will be no more memories of people who have passed away without the Lord, or childhood shenanigans, or sins we have committed or that were committed against us. Our presence in heaven and our ultimate salvation by the blood of Jesus will become our present and eternal reality.
A fourth thing is that we will know everyone who went before us. At our reunions, there is always someone new to meet or learn about. Sometimes the things we learn are not positive and good. In heaven, we will know and rejoice over every single person we encounter, and it’s all going to be positive and good because the presence of each person in heaven will be based on the finished work of Christ.
Finally, heaven will be a perfect place prepared for a perfected people. The homes where the reunions take place are lovely. The view at the bay is awesome. The drive to the reunion and back is lonely, but bearable, with the Lord by my side. Heaven, however, is the ultimate family reunion venue. It will outrageously surpass anything and everything we could ever imagine about our future forever home. I will never again be lonely once I get there. And God has kept and will continue to keep His promise about perfecting you and perfecting me to fit into His forever home, John 14:1-3 and Philippians 1:6.
I look forward to our family reunions. I keep pondering when I’m going to visit them at times other than the reunions, like holidays, when all of them who live closer to each other get together. And I look forward to when the ultimate family reunion—one that we won’t have to leave, one that is perfect, one in which we will all be perfect, one that is a perpetual experience of rejoicing and God’s glory—will finally transpire.
I hope to see you in heaven one day, my friend.