February 12, 2009 • By Ed Wrather
Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. - Psalm 126:5-6.
Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. - Luke 15:10.
The year was 1968. Picture the scene. A firefighter risking his life crawls through thick smoke of an apartment knowing that somewhere inside there is a baby. When a window broke, light came in, and then he saw the crib with the baby. The baby was unconscious, not breathing, and had no pulse. As the firefighter fled the apartment with the baby he began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The baby, Evangeline Harper, survived, grew up to have six children. She works as an assistant in nursing and teaching. The firefighter, William Carroll, received a commendation and after 34 more years of dedicated service, retired.
Evangeline tried to find Carroll a few times over the years to thank him but was never able to do so until yesterday. Can you picture the scene? Evangeline says, "Thank you." Can you imagine the joy of William Carroll to see this 41-year-old woman who is successfully living life and now meeting not only her but one of her children? Evangeline was not sure that Carroll would even be interested in meeting her or would even remember. However, Carroll says that he would never forget even if he lived for a hundred more years. At the end of their meeting William Carroll remarked, "What a beautiful day!" With the reunion of Evangeline and Carroll we have a very small glimpse of the joy that awaits many in Heaven.
As Christians we often are saddened by the response that we receive when we attempt to share the Gospel. However, we continue to tell others about Jesus even though our witness is often rejected. We understand why the Psalmist speaks of the sower who goes forth "weeping." We understand why there are "tears" that are mentioned in the Psalm.
Why do we persist in witnessing, in sharing our faith in Jesus with others? Because we love the Lord, and it is not the Lord’s will "…that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)." There is rejoicing in Heaven over every sinner who repents and if there is rejoicing then by the angels, there must also be sadness over those who reject the Lord. Just as the angels understand the consequences of that rejection we understand that too. Just as Heaven is forever, Hell is forever too, and there is no escape from Hell when you leave this life without knowing Jesus as your personal Savior. On his death bed Sir Thomas Scott, Chancellor of England said, "Until this moment I thought there was neither God nor hell, now I know that there are both, and I am doomed to perdition by the just judgment of the Almighty!"
Some bright glorious day in Heaven we will experience a reunion that will be even more wonderful than the one experienced by Evangeline Harper and William Carroll. It will be more wonderful because this will be a reunion that will be eternal. All those seeds that you have sown in tears, you will now see the fruit, the lives that were touched and saved. Oh, what a wondrously beautiful, glorious, joy filled day that will be!! Joy that will never end!!