So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. We may feel alone, but we aren’t. We are surrounded by an army of witnesses. They have run the race of faith and finished well. It is now our turn.
Hebrews 12:1 The Voice
This is the time of year when we remember and honor those who have gone on before us. In Irish and Latin American tradition, the spirits of our loved ones return for one night to fellowship with us. We don’t generally believe that any longer, but we do celebrate All Saints Day as a time of remembrance and consider that those in Heaven are always cheering us on in our race of faith.
Sometimes their cheering takes on a special symbol. Many people feel that butterflies or cardinals are ‘Godwinks’ from their departed loved ones. Some are visited in their dreams. Others find they hear a particular favorite song play when they’re feeling lonely or stressed. Whatever it is, you know it when you see it, smell it, hear it or dream it.
Last week Kurosh got a little ‘Godwink’ from his Dad. We had the occasion to gather with family up in the mountains as we try to do every fall. It just so happened to be on his Dad’s birthday this year. I know he had been thinking about that because his dad and my dad shared a birthday, so it’s a special day. But his Dad passed away earlier this year, so now it’s a memorial day for both of us for our dads.
Near the end of the picnic Kurosh’s uncle pulled out a large gym bag from the trunk of his car. Attached to it was a note to Kurosh from his Dad. The strange thing was that this bag had been left behind years and years ago, buried in a storage room, forgotten. But this year, it appeared, right at his Dad’s birthday.
Later, at home, Kurosh read the note and unpacked the clothes and Bible left for him by a Dad who had departed, not merely to another country, but to another world – a world of joy and love unimaginable where he waits to be reunited with his sons.
God knows what we need, and when we need it. You could call it a coincidence, but the longer I live, the less I believe in those. I prefer to think of them as Godwinks and Divine Appointments sent by a loving Father who delights in giving us good gifts.
So, remember the saints that have gone on before us. They stand as a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us and rooting for us. They urge us to fight the good fight and finish the race well. And we’ll join them soon enough.
“When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!” Eliza E. Hewitt