Monday, March 17, 2014

A Place for You

John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

         He was my uncle, my father's younger brother. He was dying of cancer. 
         At one time he was a big, strong, truck driver. He was handsome, with thick black hair, a trimmed mustache, piercing green eyes, a broad strong back, and muscular arms developed over the years he had worked so diligently to provide for his family. As a little boy, I was a bit afraid of him because, like all the Rosales men, he had a loud voice and a gruff way of speaking and when he spoke to me, he would speak so loudly it would scare me. Still, I loved him. He was my Uncle Ray.
         But now, he was dying. Cancer ravaged his once strong body, and treatment had removed his beautiful black hair and his trademark Rosales mustache. My father had called me and had said "Son, your Uncle Ray is about to die. If you want to see him before he passes on, then you should get to the hospital as soon as you can". I remember driving to the hospital that night, thinking of how much I loved him, and how much he meant to me. As I sat in the waiting room, I looked around and gazed at my other uncles and cousins. I especially looked at my uncles; honest, hard-working men who carried the name of their father with dignity and who owned the values he worked so hard to instill in them. Men who knew what it was like to rise early in the morning to work a long and hard day. Men who refused to complain, and who would not entertain the thought that somehow they ended up with less then they deserved. 
         I thought of my father, who had done the best job he could to instill those values in his own family, in his own sons, and how I owned those values and was doing my best to pass them on to my children.
         I left the visitor's room, and went to see my uncle.
         Lying on the bed was a living skeleton, a shadow of the man he once was, devoid of his hair, skin that was yellow, sunken cheeks, eyes closed. Lying on the bed was a grain of seed, being prepared for the Resurrection. As I approached his bedside, his wife said, "Mijo (my son), your uncle is unable to respond. He hasn't spoken all day, and I don't know if he will hear you or talk back to you. Speak to him like a Rosales, so that he can hear you!" Instantly I remembered the trait of my family, as we all speak loudly, and I smiled. I approached his bed and said  "Uncle Ray, I have come to pray for you". Immediately he mumbled "Pray", and I took him by the hand, and I said "Jesus has gone ahead, and has prepared a place for you. He is waiting for you, and soon, you will be with Him in glory". And I prayed my last prayer for my beloved Uncle Ray. In a few short hours, he went home to be with Jesus. A few days later, on a Sunday afternoon, I preached to around two hundred of my relatives, encouraging them to have what my Uncle Ray had, a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Uncle Ray was now beholding the face of Jesus, and his desire would be that we all would one day do the same.
            Just think. We have a place waiting for us, prepared by Jesus Himself. How I look forward to being there with Him. But until that moment, I have decided to take as many people with me as possible. Today, remember, Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for you. Let us not be selfish, let us not go to heaven, alone.

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