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Column — A surprise

“I have a surprise for you.” These are the words my dad told us one day when we came home. I can’t remember how old I was — probably around 12 maybe? My mom, brother and I came home from school, and dad met us on the sidewalk smiling from ear to ear. He goes over and opens the garage door and the shock of my life came running out of the garage to meet us. Teenie! Teenie was a dog we had my entire childhood. She was the sweetest dog to our family, and my brother and I adored her. She stuck close by us and always let us know if something didn’t belong nearby. The reason for the “surprise” you ask? We hadn’t seen Teenie in probably almost a year. She was aged and had just disappeared. We figured she had sensed the end of her time and wondered off on her own. One day while dad was working he noticed a dog that looked just like our Teenie so he called her name and said she came running and jumped in his truck! This dog somehow had gone some 20 miles away from home. This was unheard of, as she never wondered far from the house. To see our dog come running out of the garage and jumping on us wiggling like a puppy brought tears to our eyes and joy to our hearts. Oh my goodness, I can still remember this like it was yesterday even though it was over 30 years ago now.

Being reunited feels so good, doesn’t it? The excitement, the joy, the overwhelming sense of love. Shew — it feels great.

Did you know that the Bible gives an even bigger response to celebration and reuniting? In Luke 15:10 we read, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Every time a person accepts Christ and follows His standards for living in baptism and faithful living… heaven rejoices. It’s like the celebration of the dad to his prodigal son that we read of in the next several verses in this same chapter of Luke 15. The lost came home and celebrations galore began. Not that they came for a visit — but they came home to stay. When we sinners come home and stay and give up the life of sin we are used to, all of heaven rejoices.

When that garage door opened up and our dog came running out — there were no words to describe this moment of celebration.

“I have a surprise for you”… Heaven is awaiting you with an even better response. Come on home.

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at jamescameronbailey@gmail.com.