Surprise Gathering

Saturday, January 21, 2017
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "There Is A Book That All May Read"1 (Lyrics)

It was my 88th birthday, and I was receiving e-mails, cards, and flowers to my great enjoyment. One more event was coming, when one of my three sons and his wife drove some two hundred kilometres to take me out to lunch. I thought nothing more of it, just the three of us enjoying a meal together.

To my big surprise, when I walked into the restaurant, I almost dropped on the floor seeing more familiar faces around me. All five families had driven long distances to be present for the lunch. I was surrounded by fifteen family members, half of my family, four generations in all! I was seated at one end of the long table, and at the other end on a highchair was the youngest of all. I was in unbelief. It was clear to me that my family is a gift from God!

The next few hours, I was in awe listening to the voices of my family. I was in heaven enjoying the happy and dear people around me, revelling in each other's company and cracking jokes at each other — and yes, at me. I was so proud of all those around me, and I whispered a thank You to God for blessing me with such a family known to have family reunions. We were happy to be together in festive joy and gratitude to God.

After we departed, I could not help but visualize the joyful gathering in heaven when all God's people will come from faraway places to be gathered together as one — where the joy is never-ending in the presence of the Lord and His power and love — where hearts join in song and shouts of joy at the eternal glory of the holy God!

We experience family love here in this life as a foretaste of being with God's family. As pleasing it was for me to have my family around me, I could not help but think of the joy of God in anticipating His children being in His presence. I'm sure that we'll be surprised time and again to meet familiar faces and those unknown to us here on earth — a family reunited through faith in Jesus Christ! We will fall on our knees before King Jesus, chanting "Alleluia!"

John 14:2 – In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. (NIV)

There is a distance to be travelled to get to the final and lasting place to be forever, and the journey is not always easy. Stumbling blocks hinder unity and rob harmony. Gloomy clouds and shadows that darken the joy need to be cleared by Jesus, Who is the One to lift us from despair. We do not always see eye-to-eye, and butting heads can be reality. But at the end, one is for all and all for one.

I thank God for those around me, seeing God's faithfulness blossoming in their lives. By dying for our sins, Jesus is bringing us to God. In Jesus and because of Him, we enter into life eternal here and now, as well as living our lives for what will be with God hereafter!

Prayer: God our hope, You have made us to know the path to take that leads to eternal life in Your presence. Thank You, Lord, for the estate that You have built for Your own. Thank You for tending to our well-being in this life and life hereafter. Help us each to trust You with our whole heart so that we will have eternal life through Jesus, Your Son. Thank You for keeping us in Your presence forever. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen!

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About the author:

Kirsti Sipila <>
Brantford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Happy belated birthday!!

    Blessings on you Kirsti. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy belated birthday Kirsti! Keep writing.

    How wonderful for you. I know that having my family together brings me great joy. God bless.

    Kirsti, reunions with family are such a joy! Let’s look forward to the biggest family reunion of all when Jesus returns for us. Thanks for sharing. Blessings.

    Hi Kristi,
    The Lord has blessed you with many years! Thanks for sharing your birthday story of love and hope.

    What a delightful story and aren’t you proud of your family? Your analogy to heaven is perfect. Thank you, Kirsti.

    Thank you for my Daily Reading.
    I too will soon be 88 and am blessed with a loving family.
    Your words touched me.

    Your devotional today really touched me! I have four children and thirteen grandchildren. Your devotional reminded me how much God has blessed me with a great family. Thank you.

    Dear Kirsti:
    May God continue to bless you and your family. I hope you will continue to inspire us all with your beautiful words.

    Thank you Kirsti for this devotional today, and reminding me we can find the joy of the Lord in all situations in our life’s journey.
    Happy Birthday and God Bless you and keep you.

    A belated Happy Birthday. I celebrated a wonderful day last Sunday. A friend of mine celebrated her 102 birthday. She is a wonderful lady with great faith who still looks after herself in her own home. She gave up driving voluntarily on her 100th. She would drive to a seniors home to help feed as she said “the old folks”. What wonderful faith she has. Blessings.

    Dear Kirsti,
    Greetings! Many thanks to you for sharing this beautiful devotion today.
    It was filled with so much love and a reassurance of the importance of the family!
    May the dear Lord continue to bless you as you share these inspiring devotions.
    Have a wonderful week filled with all the blessings.
    Be blessed!

    Dear Kristi,
    This is a very heart-felt devotional, a devotional of love.
    I just read John chapter 15 before reading this, and they fit together so very well.
    I pray that God will continue to bless you and your immediate family, and your family’s families of the current generations, and the generations to come.
    How very special to have met together as you did!
    No, human relationships are not always perfect, but we pray, “Dear Lord, You know ALL and You will answer our prayers as Jesus taught us in John 15. Help us to live in Your love and to keep Your commandments..”
    I pray that God will give you the grace and health to continue writing for His sake.

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