Have you ever had a significant reunion with someone you thought you would never see again? When you did see them again, how wonderful it was.
The Old Testament book of Genesis tells about an unexpected reunion, a reunion between a father and his son. Jacob thought he would never see his son Joseph again, the son he thought was dead but was actually alive.
Jacob had gone through some very hard times. He had lost his beloved wife Rachel. He had lost his beloved Joseph, or so he thought. Probably all he could see were storm clouds. But his storm was about to clear. The light was about to shine in the life of this aged patriarch.
As Joseph’s brothers made their way back from Egypt, they knew what they had to do. They had a bittersweet announcement to make to their aged father. The sweet part was telling him that Joseph was alive. The bitter part was explaining how it all came about. Joseph was not dead as they had reported to their father 20 years earlier; rather, they had sold him into slavery.
The Bible tells us that when they gave their father the news, his “heart stood still, because he did not believe them” (Genesis 45:26 NKJV). It’s almost as though Jacob had a mild heart attack. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Joseph was still alive. I suspect that Jacob might have known all along there was something suspicious about the way Joseph had supposedly died. Perhaps he detected some guilt on the faces of his sons. But ultimately he was overjoyed to hear that the son he had so valued was still alive. And he couldn’t wait to be reunited with him.
We pick up the story in Genesis 46: “So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took him to Egypt. They carried him and their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had provided for them. They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt” (verse 5–6 NLT).
Egypt at this time was a sophisticated civilization. According to historians, Egypt was a great power at this particular time in history because of their military campaigns and mining expeditions to outlying provinces and neighboring countries. They had a well-developed economy. They had incredible achievements in education, sculpture, architecture, literature.
So in came Jacob and his family, their carts filled to overflowing with their possessions, with their livestock tied up behind them. They probably looked like the Beverly Hillbillies rolling into town. Maybe the Egyptians looked at them and thought, “What’s going on with this?”
But Jacob’s day of reunion had finally come, the day when they would be together again. It’s memorialized for us in verse 29 of Genesis 46: “Joseph prepared his chariot and traveled to Goshen to meet his father, Jacob. When Joseph arrived, he embraced his father and wept, holding him for a long time” (NLT).
Imagine the moment. Maybe as Jacob looked at Joseph, he still saw his little boy. He and his son were together again. What a wonderful reunion that must have been.
Perhaps, like Jacob, you’ve been separated from someone you love. It came quickly, unexpectedly – and sooner than you thought it would. There are things you wish you had said to that person, regrets that you now have.
There is something to learn from that. If there is anyone you still need to say something to, say it now while you can. Pick up the phone and call. Write a letter. Send an email. Do something to communicate with them, because you don’t know when their time may come. Then again, you don’t know when your time may come.
Then there are those whom we have lost in the Lord, those who have died and gone before us and are in heaven. The good news is there will be a family reunion for every child of God, a day when we will see those people again.
When his infant son died, King David said, “Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2 Samuel 12:23 NKJV). That is the hope of every Christian. Our loved ones in Heaven cannot come to us, but we can go to them one day.
We can join them in that great reunion when the Christ comes for His church, as described in 1 Thessalonians 4: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever” (verses 16–17 NLT).
It is the ultimate family reunion. But this is only the hope of the child of God. If you’re a Christian, then you can know with assurance that you will again see your loved one who has died in the Lord. But if you are not a Christian, you don’t have that hope. You don’t have that assurance. What a bleak scenario it is to not have Christ living inside you. There is no hope for you beyond the grave. In fact, the Bible says you will face a certain judgment, a punishment for your sin and, more specifically, for your rejection of God’s offer of forgiveness he has extended to each of us.
That is why you want to make a commitment to Christ and know he is living inside you. Then you can have the assurance that when you die, you will go to heaven.
What if this were your last day on earth, your last night to spend on this planet? Are you sure you would go into God’s presence? That’s really up to you. You determine where you will spend eternity by what you do with Jesus Christ.