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Goodbye - Greetings!
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Cecil Thompson

I John 4:9-12

"This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us."

It was a Sunday evening, Valentine's Day, February 14, 1982. The church we were attending was having a service to honor our music director who had served faithfully for many years. The spirit was happy and lighthearted. We had been looking forward to the service and it was all we had anticipated.

Joyce and I were sitting on the second row from the front. I suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder. One of the ushers said I had an emergency phone call. It seemed like every eye was on me as I walked to the back of the church and into the Pastor's office.

It was our oldest daughter who said that my Dad had collapsed and was being rushed to the hospital. Joyce had sensed that something was wrong and had entered the office. We immediately got in our car and rushed the ten miles or so to the hospital.

When we entered the Emergency Room, they said that my Dad had not arrived yet, but that the ambulance was bringing him in. I walked outside the ambulance entrance and stood looking up into the night sky. I wondered if my Dad was alive or dead. I knew if he had died, he was with the Lord.

I listened to the sirens as the ambulance drew nearer and nearer. As they opened the door and wheeled my Dad past me, I touched his arm, but I knew that he was already with the Lord. Nothing could be done for him, but I needed to be strong for Mom and the rest of the family.

Fast forward three years to February 14, 1985. Our daughter-in law, Donna, was expecting her second child. The phone rang and the joyful news was relayed---our grandson, Jeffrey David Thompson, had been born! The date that marked the earthly end of my Dad's life marked the beginning of our precious grandson.

February 14th is celebrated as a day of love. It is certainly that! As I think back on the events of February 14th, 1982 and 1985, I am aware of God's wonderful love. It was hard saying goodbye to Dad, but I know he is with the Lord. He told me a few years earlier that when he died, I was to encourage others by reminding them that he was with the Lord. What joy to know, according to 2 Corinthians 5:8, that "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."

Across the years we have enjoyed Dad's replacement. Jeffrey has grown into a fine young man who graduated from college with a degree, majoring in youth ministries. There are goodbyes in life, but there are also greetings. "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!"

Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today. Trust Him completely and be a blessing.

--- Pastor Cecil


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