Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross"1 (Lyrics)
Leo was a 20-year-old student from France who came to my hometown of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, in order to complete his second year of a business program. He stayed with my family for much of his six-month Canadian visit, fitting in naturally, and became like a son to me. Although he was a third my age, we spent much time together on the ski slopes, golf course, and squash and tennis courts.
Leo was also curious about my relationship with Jesus, and we had deep discussions concerning matters of faith. A keen student and a fellow lover of sports, he was truly a kindred spirit.
So it was with great sadness that I said farewell to him at the airport. We hugged, fought back tears, and promised to keep in touch, but in my heart, I knew realistically that it could well be the last time that we would see each other. My good friend gave a final wave as he drifted off into the privacy of the airport security area, out of sight, and out of my life.
With a lump in my throat and reminiscing the highlights of our times together, I returned to my church office and tried to focus on Sunday's upcoming service.
About an hour later, the phone rang, and I heard the voice of a troubled and disappointed Leo! His flight had been unable to take off due to fog, and had been rescheduled for the next day. Would I come and get him?
Seeing him again at the airport after that very final emotional break was a strange experience. I had reluctantly accepted his departure from my life. Seeing him again was not unlike seeing a ghost. It was good to have him with me another day before he returned to France.
I realized through this experience that I had received a very small taste of what the disciples must have felt as they experienced what they surely believed would be the last time that they would see their good friend Jesus on the day of His departure from them. His death on the cross had a finality far exceeding an airport good-bye, and emotions and sadness many times greater than mine.
The shock of seeing Jesus again must also have seemed like seeing a ghost, as they had surely resolved in their minds that He was gone forever and that it was time for them to forget about Him and to begin the difficult task of returning to focus on their work.
We can only imagine the disciples' incredulity, and their unbridled joy, when they realized that Jesus was truly, shockingly, unbelievably with them again — His promise to return fulfilled!
Luke 24:37,41a – [The disciples] were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. They still did not believe it because of joy and amazement. (NIV)
Matthew 28:20b – And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (ESV)
Prayer: God, You have told us that You will never leave us nor forsake us; that You are with us always. We give You thanks for the joy that we experience in Your presence. It is our desire to walk with You to the end of the age. Amen.