Honest Advent: Day 18

December 18, 2022, By: Jimmy Scruggs

Day 18: With

“Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the Main Street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit… The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.” Revelation 22:1-2

Confession: I reluctantly lied to Mom a few days before her death. She lived in the same facility where my 94-year-old dad died 10 months before. Her 94-year-old mind was sharp but as death drew closer she sometimes drifted off to a different state of being – somewhere between heaven and earth.

One night I read Bible passages and prayed for her. Then she gave me a quizzical look. I asked her who I was. After a pause, she said, “Don?” That was Dad’s name and I have a strong resemblance to him when he was my age. As she awaited my answer, I pondered whether to correct her or, um, lie. I chose the latter.

“Yes,” I said, “I’m Don.” Her face lit up and she asked me what heaven was like. That night she needed for a few minutes to be “WITH” her earthly husband of 72 years. The next night she listened to more Bible verses. Then her face took on that strange expression. “Do you know who I am?” I expected to reprise my role as Don, but Mom threw me a major-league curve ball. “Jesus?”

Yikes! Tough gig. I lied again. “Yes, I am.” And I told this lifelong believer that I would soon embrace her and love her forever in heaven. Her radiant smile told me she needed to be “WITH” Jesus (a pretend one) briefly that night before being WITH the real Him for eternity.

—Gregg Piburn