Seventy years ago today, July 31, 1944, my dad Allen Davis was born. We shared a birthday. I was born on July 31, 1967 on his twenty-third birthday. He used to say that he didn’t have any birthdays after that because we were always celebrating mine. I wish he was around today so we could celebrate his 70th. On January 2, 2009, my dad went to be with his Savior. In some ways it seems like it was just yesterday. In other ways it seems like forever. Life goes on they say, whoever they are. Life does go on. Our lives here on this earth go on, but my dad’s life also goes on with his Savior. Paul said to be absent from the body was to be present with the Lord.
I found great comfort today in the words of J.I. Packer which I have pasted below. I have heard from many people, too many people to count, that my dad was a good man. I know my dad would want all of us to remember that his goodness was totally found in the goodness and righteousness of Christ who died for his sins and rose again. That righteousness was credited to my dad’s account when as a nine year old boy he accepted Christ as his personal Savior, a salvation found in God’s grace alone through faith alone, not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9). I hope the following words are an encouragement to many.
As I get older, I find that I appreciate God and people and good and lovely and noble things more and more intensely; so it is pure delight to think that this enjoyment will continue and increase in some form (what form, God knows, and I am content to wait and see), literally forever. In fact Christians inherit the destiny which fairy tales envisaged in fancy: we (yes, you and I the silly saved sinners) live and live happily, and by God’s endless mercy will live happily ever after.
We cannot visualize heaven’s life and the wise man will not try to do so. Instead he will dwell on the doctrine of heaven, where the redeemed will find all their heart’s desire: joy with their Lord, joy with his people, and joy in the ending of all frustration and distress and in the supply of all wants. What was said to the child — “If you want sweets and hamsters in heaven, they’ll be there” — was not an evasion but a witness to the truth that in heaven no felt needs or longings go unsatisfied. What our wants will actually be, however, we hardly know, except the first and foremost: we shall want to be “always…with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17).
What shall we do in heaven? Not lounge around but worship, work, think, and communicate, enjoying activity, beauty, people, and God. First and foremost, however, we shall see and love Jesus, our Savior, Master, and Friend.
James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.