Even though we left in the morning. It was pitch black as we drove to the airport. The storm was fierce, the roads were icy, and we held our breath most of the journey
That Sunday morning, the church service was all about joy. Kimmy danced and sang with Kids Outpour onstage while Jake got his first chance at playing bass guitar with the music team. Wes upped the volume from the controls in the sound booth. Everybody was feeling pretty happy when Pastor Mike began enthusiastically talking about what real joy meant. There was a lot of excitement in the car as the family drove over for Sunday dinner at Grandma and Grandpa’s home. To top off the meal, dessert was to feature pieces of Almond Joy bars in hot fudge syrup over homemade ice cream.
At the end of the meal, as the table was being cleared, Grandpa Myers began to talk about his favorite joy story. He cleared his throat and began, “It was a dark and stormy morning, December 2, 1992, when Great Grandma Myers, Grandma, your Aunt Karen, and I piled into a limousine headed to LaGuardia Airport where we would catch the long flight to Texas for your dad’s college graduation. A week before, your aunt Karen had flown in from Korea where she had been helping a pastor. My dad, your great grandpa, was sick in a nursing home in upper New York State, so he couldn’t make the trip.
“Even though we left in the morning. It was pitch black as we drove to the airport. The storm was fierce, the roads were icy, and we held our breath most of the journey. The winds were so strong that the airport had put masking tape on the windows to keep them from shattering with the wind gusts.”
“That must have been scary,” said Wes.
“Yes, it was, but we finally got to the airport safely, where we met your great grandmother. Many of the flights were delayed. We waited for hours and hours until they finally canceled our flight till the next day, Sunday. There was no chance we would ever make the graduation in time, since we’d still be in the air while your dad graduated. So, tearfully, with heavy hearts, we called your dad and sobbed we wouldn’t be there for his big event. We sadly returned to Great Grandmother’s place in New York City and went to bed. The next morning, Great Grandmother suggested we walk a few blocks to Queens Lutheran Church.”
“Weren’t the horses and cart available?” asked Jake.
“No, silly, that was long before this story,” said Wes.
Grandpa continued, “Great Grandmother thought Aunt Karen might enjoy going to that church since it had both English and Korean services. After the English service, the pastor got into a conversation with Aunt Karen who mentioned her recent missions trip to Korea. She told him she was looking for a teaching job. Pastor said, ‘You should apply to our school.’
“After lunch, we left for the Korean language service. The Korean pastor made sure Aunt Karen left with a teacher’s application.
“In the early hours the next morning, the phone woke me. A voice asked, ‘Is Edith there?’ That was my mom, your great grandma’s first name. The nursing home said her husband, Great Grandpa Myers, had died. My mom trusted God and responded ‘The Lord gives, the Lord takes, blessed is the name of the Lord.’ Another sadness to our weekend of disappointments. This was not turning out at all to be the joyful graduation weekend we had looked forward to.”
“You must have felt really bad,” said Kimmy.
“Yes, we did, but see what happened next, because God’s kindness was at work. Since we had missed the trip to Texas, I was there to help my heartbroken mom drive up to northern New York where the nursing home was. God again was at work when later, Queens Lutheran School called Aunt Karen, asking her to come in for a job interview. At the meeting they asked if she could begin teaching the following month. She agreed. Then, one of Great Grandmother’s renters, moved away. That made an apartment two blocks away available for Aunt Karen’s new home! God provided both a job and a place for Aunt Karen to live. None of that would have happened if we had been able to make the trip to Texas.”
Grandma added, “A lot of that weekend was both scary and sad. There were lots of tears both at missing the trip for your dad’s graduation and also the passing of your great grandpa. But God had your grandpa exactly at the right place to help out your great grandma. We would have never imagined that weekend would also lead to the beginning of Aunt Karen’s greatest joy of her life, her teaching career. I’m reminded of the verse that says, ‘Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.’ (Psalm 30:5b). In other words, life can be really sad and things might not go at all the way we had planned, but in the end, God has at heart what is best for us: real joy that lasts for eternity.”
Dad said, “Why don’t I pray? Lord, I was so disappointed that weekend when my family couldn’t be at my college graduation. But thank You, that You never forgot us. My dad was there to help out Great Grandma when Great Grandpa went home to heaven and You provided the introduction so that my sister could begin her wonderful teaching career at the Korean School. You even provided an apartment Karen could afford. Thank You that even when we feel disappointed and all the joy is sucked out of our lives, there’s always more joy waiting for us. Amen.”
Kimmy asked, “I’m pretty joyful. Any more of that dessert still available?”
And all the family said, “Amen!”
- What are some things that make you sad?
- What are some things that bring you joy that lasts a long time?
- What were some of the things that were sad in this story?
- How did God bring about good while those things were sad?
- What kind of joy does God offer us?
Prayer: each family member tell about something they are thankful for. Someone in the family pray and thank God for each of these things and for Who God is.