Thirty years ago, Glenn and I moved to Jasper, Alabama to work for about six years with the Sixth Avenue church. This was during some of the most formative years of the lives of Caleb and Hannah and we remain grateful for many godly influences there. Hap Johnson became an mentor to Caleb Colley. Flavil Nichols became mentor to all of us. I got to learn from elderly women who watched the Restoration Movement occur–Emily Hyde and several women from the Nichols family. Millie and Mollie Davidson became dear friends for a lifetime to Hannah. Patrick, Bart, Joey and Nolan were VHS home movie makers (and campers and yard football players) with Caleb. The middle school youth group at this church was phenomenal and I know lots of soldiers of the cross now who were baptized and began to serve the Lord with fervor right there. Hannah and Caleb lost their grandmother just as we settled in at Jasper and there were many people who helped fill that deep void. I will always be indebted.
An inseparable pair in the middle school youth group was Bailey Brigham (Gladden) and Jessica Wells (Bailey). Bailey, now at stay-at-home mom and homeschooling wonder in Minnesota (soon to be Alabama again) is a friend that I hope I never have to do without in this lifetime. I cannot love any friend more than I love Bailey. Recently, I reconnected with Jessica, who contacted me and said she recognizes pictures in my posts and “I think I live near Hannah!” Sure enough, right there she is and she is a blessing! God is good like that!
I want to share something I came across a few days ago that Jessica wrote. It made me examine introspectively. It made me trust the Lord through difficult days. The Bible is good like that, too. Here it is:
Last week in our kids’ classes the lesson title was: Jesus died and was raised from the dead to show what can happen to me.
My 1st through 3rd grade class listened so very well about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and how we, one day, are going to be raised, too.Here it is Saturday and this lesson is still on my mind…The angel told the women who had come to the tomb to “come, see where the Lord lay.”Come and see.Come and see.I got to thinking about what they and the others saw when they entered the empty tomb. What did they come and see?Mary Magdalene saw a crime scene. In John 20:13 she said, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” She thought the body of Jesus had been stolen.Simon Peter saw a wonder or a marvel. Luke 24:12 says that he “departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.” What a wondrous and marvelous thing had just happened!The other disciple, whom Jesus loved, saw evidence for his belief. John 20:8 tells us that “he saw, and believed.” How simple and to the point. He saw all he needed to believe that his Lord had been raised from the dead.If you had been there, what might the scriptures have said of you? Would you have been like Mary and have seen a crime scene? Would you have been like Simon Peter and have seen a marvel? Would you have been like the other disciple and have seen evidence that led to belief?When I look in, I see hope. The empty tomb gives me hope. God promised to raise Jesus and he did. God has promised to raise me, too, and I believe that he will. God keeps his promises.I want you to come and see the empty tomb. When you peer in, what is it that you see?Come and see.Matthew 28Mark 16Luke 24John 20(Edited to add that Mary and Peter will quickly figure it all out and see a resurrected Jesus with their own eyes. They will believe, too.)Jessica Wells Bailey