I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.In 2002, my oldest brother died, just days before his 50th birthday.
Just before Thanksgiving, 2009, my father became sick. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor by Christmas. He was gone by Martin Luther King Jr Day.
On Memorial Day, 2010, my other brother died.
On the night before New Year's Eve in 2011, my mother died.
The entire family in which I grew up is gone. Many times since then, I've felt like an orphan.
Oh, I'm not without family. I have a wife and several young men who call me Dad. I have two little boys to whom I'm Grandpa, plus several more little kids who call me Papa Tim.
But still, at times, I feel like an orphan.
I cried twice while watching the movie Interstellar this past weekend, I felt empty inside without being able to talk about it with Scott, who taught me to love sci-fi. Every time I've been to the Roots 'n' Blues festival, I wanted to tell Mark about it. Every time one of my articles is published in The Lookout or Christian Standard, I want to take copies of the magazines to share with Dad and Mom.
But they're all gone.
When Jesus was crucified, the disciples felt like orphans, even though he had promised them he wouldn't leave them alone.
They were overjoyed when he rose from the grave, but then, after a few weeks, he left them again.
I have no doubt there were times in the days that followed when Peter and John and the others turned to tell Jesus something, or to ask him a question, and their shoulders drooped as they remembered he was gone.
It was hard for them to understand that he still was not leaving them alone.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:10-11
I still carry my family's hopes and dreams, their legacy, within me. I don't know how many times I've wanted to call one of them and let them know when I experience a victory. I want to let them know when I've managed to live up to the dreams they had for me. I'm carrying on the spirit of the Robertson family.
Jesus is always with me, too, only in a more real way. Like those first disciples, it's not just Jesus' spirit that lives on in me, but his actual Spirit that lives in me.
He not only knows when I'm living up to his legacy, living up to the dreams he had for me. He's actually participating with me, going along with me as I carry on the work he began.
He'll never be gone.
Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:19-20