John MacArthur, pastor of Grace To You Community Church many years ago tells us the story about a missionary family who traveled all the way from Utah to California to have their family vacation.. John and Nora Romanaski have been faithfully pastoring a small church in Brigham City, Utah. Kevin, their son together with his 2 beautiful sisters, one of them was to be enrolled in the Master’s Seminary, a bible school, traveled together with 2 foreign exchange students in the hope of sharing with them the gospel during their family vacation.
They were all so excited upon coming to California because they have spent so many years in a struggling little church in Utah and for the first time in the lives of their kids, California was so exciting and so overwhelming.
The older of the missionary’s daughter, a beautiful girl registered for enrollment on a Saturday morning and that very afternoon, John Romanaski pulled out in the middle of an intersection, he doesn’t really know how it happened, not looking and down the hill came a truck running full force hit the car, catapulted the 2 girls who were sitting at the back of his station wagon, through the back window and killed them instantly in the middle of the streets.
The car went up in flames, the 3 boys, Kevin and the exchange students, were instantly brought to the hospital for critical care with all kinds of internal injuries, the truck had hit behind the front seats so John and Nora didn’t have any serious internal injuries though they were bruised and battered, their shoes and their glasses scattered all over the place, the car went up in flames, their bibles were incinerated, it was the worst nightmare anyone could have ever imagined.
A family vacation instantaneously turning into a holocaust, a rare happening and yet it happened to this family.
The news reached pastor John MacArthur and he rushed to see John not knowing what to say at a moment like this. So the pastor simply said, “I don’t know what to say to you John, there are no words I can find. I guess the only thing I can do at this moment is to ask you what your feelings are, what are you thinking?”
The grieving father, turned around and looked at the pastor and said some words the pastor will never forget all through out his life. The missionary said, “My first thought is: “Isn’t God good? Isn’t He gracious? Because He took my 2 daughters who knew Christ and spared the 2 boys who didn’t.”
The missionary continued saying, “You know I wanted to have my kids come here and have a big-church experience. We thought it would be Grace Community Church, we never knew it would be heaven.”
You see John MacArthur pastors one of the largest churches in America. In contrast to the small church where they belong to back in Utah, a worship experience in a large church would have meant something for his 2 daughters.
But then it seems that the 2 daughters are now in a better place worshipping.
He said, “We wanted them to hear a big choir, we never expected it would be the angels they would hear singing at this time.”
Now when you’re the father and you can say those words, then you’re seeing clearly don’t you think so? But only a true Christian can see that clearly. The reality that life here is not designed for this world, but a preparation for true life that is in the other side. That which is with Christ.
I want to live like that and die like that too. Don’t you? Well, the key is simply because we have hope. Hope that’s not based on the new and coming year, or a new project, or a new assignment, or even a new church. But hope in the New Life that only Christ can give.
The Word of God gives us hope. That’s what it says. And I’m so glad I now live in Christ who gives me hope. He holds my life both now and in the life to come.
This is the message of the Resurrection.