Pastoral Perspectives

The Great Reunion

When was the last time you watched a movie or soap opera that has a story of a joyful reunion?

The storyline is often about long-lost siblings or family members who became separated due to war or family quarrels. Years passed, and we see the children all grown up. The estranged parents are also getting on in years. The story continue with the children going on a search for their lost siblings or parents. Despite many obstacles, they found one another eventually and went on to live happily ever after.

Besides seeing these reunions happening only on screens, we do hear of similar stories with happy endings in real life.

When I was about 6 years old, my parents’ marriage ended. My mother had custody of her three kids – me, my younger sister and my youngest brother who was only a baby then. I remembered seeing him for a short time before he completely disappeared from my life.

Later on, I found out that because my mom had difficulty raising three kids on her own without a job, my parents gave this younger brother of mine to my father’s friend, who adopted him.

I grew up not knowing his name or his whereabouts. All I knew was that he was adopted by an Indian family.

I would often wonder how my brother was doing in his life. Does he look like me? Does he know he has an older brother and sister? Does he know Jesus?

About 13 years ago, I finally found out his new name. I did a search on Facebook and found myself looking at someone that looked like me. I added him as a friend and over the next few months, I didn’t get any response from him.

When he finally accepted my friend request, I was afraid to communicate with him – not knowing how he would respond. Would he be angry and upset at me? Does he know who am I?

A few months later, Facebook prompted me that my brother’s birthday was coming up. I plucked up all my courage and typed “Happy birthday brother!” over Facebook and he replied with “Thank you brother!” I hinted to him if he knew that I was his long-lost elder brother, but he didn’t respond after that.

Finally, after a few months, I received a Facebook message from him. He sent me a similar birthday greeting, “Happy birthday brother!” I responded by thanking him and asking him how he was doing. To my surprise, he sent me a reply with his contact number and asked if my sister and I would like to meet up. I almost fell off my chair and immediately contacted him.

When my sister and I finally met our brother whom we have not seen for 30 over years, we were just overcome with emotion. Since our reunion then, we have been slowly getting to know each other better, sharing our life stories, meeting over meals, and catching up the lost years. All praise be to God that though he wasn’t a Christian when we first met, he has since come to know the Lord!

Meeting and being reunited with my long-lost brother was something I have been longing while growing up. The other longing and prayer I have is to for the three of us to be reunited with our mother. I have not seen her for many years, and I really hope that my siblings and I would be able to see her one day – to let her know that the Lord has been gracious to her children!

We see a few reunions in the Bible as well.

In the story of Joseph, we read about how Jacob’s favorite son Joseph was thrown into a pit and later sold as a slave by his jealous brothers. Years later, we see God’s sovereign hand and plans at work when Joseph became a ruler in Egypt. He was reunited with his family and was able to save them from starvation.

In the story of the prodigal son, we see how a wayward son left his family to live life on his own. When his life fell apart, he repented and made his way back home. His father who thought that he had lost his son for good, was overjoyed to see him again and welcomed his son with loving arms.

In Genesis, – the first book of the Bible, it tells us of the account of God’s Creation in the Garden of Eden – of a world that was created the perfect world in God’s eyes. However, we also learned about Adam and Eve’s fall to sin and how the world was never the same again. Because of sin, our relationship with God was broken.

As we continue to read the rest of the Bible, we see how sin affected our world so much that we see sorrow, pain and suffering everywhere. Even as I speak, the world we live in seems to be getting worse with each passing day. It was never the world it was before.

We see broken relationships everywhere in the world – between siblings, between husbands and wives, between friends. Sin had become so rampant that with each turn of the page, the Bible slowly reveals God’s love for us and His plan in sending his Son Jesus to rescue us from sin and to bring us back to a loving relationship with Him.

In the book of Revelations, it promises us of a new world and the reunion that we can all look forward to.

Rev 21:1-4 tells us this:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

As God’s children, we can look forward to the day where we will dwell in God’s presence forever. In this new heaven and new earth, God will live with us. He will wipe away all our tears and there will be no more sorrow, no more death, no more crying and no more pain!

This would be the great reunion we can all have and I am really looking forward to that!