“Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him…‘Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom’…‘You don’t know what you are asking,’ Jesus said to them” Matthew 20:20-22.
John and James’ mother watched her sons walk away from the lucrative family business, a fishing business that their father had built. The parents had wonderful plans for their boys but Jesus had other plans. The boys were offered everything financially, but they chose to walk with the one who was Master. There was something about Him, something for which they were willing to leave everything. As the fame of Jesus grew so did their mother’s desire for them to have a place beside Jesus. She kneeled and asked for His favor on their lives. She asked for them to be exalted in the highest place…next to Jesus. Jesus replied that to grant this prayer would be something she would never want to live out…for it would be too painful for her…it would mean their deaths.
One of the most heart-wrenching prayers I have ever had to pray was regarding my daughter when she was in the depths of her heroin addiction. The darkness that accompanies that walk is like none other, and evil is almost a tangible item. I had watched her living a tortured life for many years with no relief in sight. I knew that for anyone to pick up a life of drugs was just a means to an end…to numb a heart that had been broken…rejected…abandoned. Through no fault of her own she had experienced this through a failed relationship. I remember after years of exhaustion, fear and surrender I got on my knees and asked Jesus to grant her deliverance and freedom…even if it meant taking her home to heaven. I knew that what He could offer her there was greater than anything that could be offered here. Thankfully, Jesus said ‘Brenda, you don’t know what you are asking.’ He devised a way to deliver her here on earth and gave her a life with deep meaning and testimony. She is indeed a miracle and I thank God for her each day, along with the gratitude that He did not answer that prayer. Since then, I have walked alongside those parents who live each day with the other reality…the reality that their child now sits to the right and left of Jesus…the reality that they walk this life with a temporary absence of their baby. The pain they experience is one I cannot imagine, but what I do witness is the sustaining and enabling grace of a God who has their hearts in His hand until they see each other again. I see the holy ground on which God called them and that sacred thread of comfort between the parents. I see a nod and a glance met between each of them as their pain speaks a private language, one that we cannot speak.
I am confident that God has in reserve special private gardens where beautiful reunions will take place between parent and child. I can imagine that the Lord will give them immediate knowledge of every moment they were apart as if their history together never stopped. There will be unending walks and amazing talks that no break in time can diminish. God has a special place for those whose young ones went ahead to Heaven early…that place is to the right and left of Jesus. That place is a place where the children await the reunion with the ones who knew them first…their mother and their daddy. When that guaranteed and beautiful reunion takes place it will be like nothing that earth could ever offer in their time together. God bless these amazing parents who walk in this pain but still love Jesus. God bless each and every moment they must be separated and give them a double portion of Heaven for their surrender. And when these parents step into Heaven they will finally move from their night to Heavens eternal day.