Mary cuddled her Yorkshire Terrier, Luke, close to her cheek. He seemed her only comfort lately. Things had gone so badly; their finances were a wreck, her health was not looking good and it was a daily struggle to get up and soldier on; keeping her faith intact and trusting in her precious Lord regardless of the circumstances. Sensitive to her every mood, Luke planted doggie kisses all over her face in his attempt to comfort her. Dogs are truly furry angels sent by God,she thought to herself.
She got up from the couch, restless at heart and wishing she knew what to do about all the trials that were confronting her. She opened the front door to go outside and stood blinking in bewilderment. Instead of looking out her front door at her front yard, she was looking into the family room of place that had been very near and dear to her heart.
“Is that you, Mary?” called an achingly familiar voice. A head poked around the corner of the wall and Mary felt her heart clench with joy and shock.
“Auntie Mary Anne?” she whispered; unable to believe her eyes. Her aunt’s full body came into view with arms outstretched to embrace her. Mary didn’t question the how or why; she just flew into the arms of the woman that had meant so much to her over the years and allowed her tears to flow freely. Her Aunt just held her close, rubbed her back and cooed softly into her ear endearments that she had not heard in years.
“Come and sit down, honey,” her aunt finally said, leading her to an overstuffed couch. With tears streaming down her cheeks, Mary allowed herself to be settled down, little Luke jumping up into her lap panting and smiling. “Tell your auntie what’s on your heart.”
It was all Mary needed to hear for the floodgates to open. She had been holding in her emotions so much for so long; trying to be strong but now the “dam had burst”. Her tears came out in a torrent as she unburdened her heart and her beloved Aunt sat quietly, her arms about her, letting her vent. When it was over, Mary felt cleansed and lighter inside than she had been in a long time. Her aunt wiped the tears from her cheeks with a gentle smile.
“I can’t promise that things will get better while on this side of heaven, sweetheart,” she said. “But the Master has heard your heart’s cry and knows all of your burdens and wants you to give them over to Him. In the meantime, He has arranged a little present for you as a sign of His infinite love.”
She swept her arm out and there stood before her the faces of those she had long missed; her sister, her mom, Linda, and her dad who had all been gone for so many years.
They all came forward to embrace her and she found herself weeping and laughing with joy. They all looked young and healthy and had the light of heaven in their faces. Together with Mary and her aunt they all sat down at a dinner table piled high with all their favorite foods and told Mary what they could of the wonders and delights of heaven and how they looked forward to their next and permanent reunion there in the presence of their Redeemer.
“He truly does wipe away all tears from our eyes,” said her aunt, cupping Mary’s cheek in her hand. “Just trust Him, child. That’s all He desires from you; is your child-like trust and in that you have been most faithful.”
“Can’t you all stay here with me?” Mary pleaded, holding her aunt’s hands in hers. “I feel so alone most of the time.”
“My darling daughter,” her mom Linda said, coming over and putting her arms around her. “We have never left you really. We are all with you in our hearts and talk to the Master daily about the trials and tribulations that confront you. You may not see us; but we see you and we love you. One day soon we will all be reunited in our Master’s kingdom and there will be no more sorrow, pain or suffering.”
At that moment, another person entered the room and Mary turned around to find her daughter Linda with a good looking young gentleman. She seemed older and beamed with an inner beauty that bespoke peace and contentment. Mary glanced down and saw a wedding ring on her finger and knew suddenly that this was her baby, Linda, in the future; married and content in heart at last with the man God had chosen for her.
Her aunt stood and slipped an arm about her waist, greeting her daughter and her husband. “My goodness, child, how you have grown!” Mary Anne exclaimed with a laugh throwing her arms out wide. Linda fell into them then introduced her husband to all in the room as if nothing was unusual at all; beaming at her mom with delight and pride. The couple joined them at the table and they talked long into the night, eating and enjoying one another's company.
Finally it was time for the reunion to end. Her mom, dad and Aunt Mary Anne walked her back to the couch, each of them kissing her face in turn and whispering prayers of blessing over her.
“Remember, Mary…we are with you but even more importantly; the Master is watching over you and He loves you infinitely more than we!” With those words of endearment in her ears Mary closed her eyes and when she next opened them she found little Luke sitting on the couch and looking up at a tall stranger, his little tail wagging fiercely.
Mary looked up and for the briefest of moments saw the face of her beloved Redeemer, Jesus, smiling down upon her.
“I am with you always, my dearest one,” spoke His gentle voice, filling her soul with His peace. “Even unto world’s ending. Have no fear.”