But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. (Philippians 3:20 NLT)
Dear Beloved Friends and Family,
We are always missing someone. Probably you! This is one of the sacrifices that people like us make. We grieve the distance between us, and we rejoice when God crosses our paths again and we can enjoy face-to-face reconnections.
We’re in Brisbane this week and as we’ve been catching up with friends here, it’s reminded us of how blessed we’ve been by the friendships God has given us over the years in various contexts. It is such a gift to feel like time hasn’t passed and we can just pick up wherever we left off. The bond of Christ unites so tightly that distance and time just cannot break it.
We rejoice in the promise of eternal life that we share in Jesus Christ our Lord. We thank the Lord that we remain united by his Holy Spirit. We praise God that we still share the same heart and Kingdom concerns. And however much time we have together – or don’t have – here on earth, we have eternity together. We have heaven. We are citizens of heaven (Phil 1:27; 3:20).
Don’t you think this longing that we have for those we miss is similar to the longing that God has for those who do not yet know and love him?
We think of the picture of the Father waiting for his son to come home in Luke 15. We remember Jesus weeping over Jerusalem and longing to gather the lost like a hen gathers her chicks in Matthew 23 and Luke 13. We think of Jesus’ compassion for those who are like sheep without a shepherd in Matthew 9 and Mark 6. And we remember Isaiah 30:18, which says, “So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help” (NLT).
God longs for and waits for the lost to come to him as he works through his Spirit, Word and people to draw them to himself.
Perhaps our missing you serves a purpose of allowing us to share in the Lord’s suffering. Perhaps it fuels our passion to see others come to know how much God loves them and longs for them to understand his Word. Perhaps our willingness to miss one another brings the Kingdom of Heaven that much closer, and makes our hope in Christ’s resurrection that much more meaningful.
It is because we want others to belong to God’s family that we partner together with you in ministry. Thank you for letting us miss you so that we can do what we do. We pray that God’s promise of our heavenly home together will comfort you and fill you with joy and purpose. God bless you!
Those of you who will be in the Chicago area on Sunday, September 30th or Monday, October 1st have a chance to see Graham face-to-face this side of heaven. We are making arrangements for two different gatherings in the Wheaton area on that Sunday afternoon and Monday evening. More details to follow.
We can confirm that Graham will be sharing at Faith Bible Church in Joliet at 6pm on Sunday, September 30th. You are most welcome to come! The address is 1600 Schuster Avenue in Joliet – here is a link http://faithbiblejoliet.org/about-us/service-times-location.
Can you come?
Love and hugs,
Graham and Ellie