It wasn’t really his name but everyone called him Stubby. He was a fun-loving character. He loved life. He always had a smile. He made me feel important. He conveyed a genuine concern for me as a young man. He had that effect on everyone.
I remember eating watermelon at his house after the evening worship services when I was a young man.
I was friends with his son. We played high school basketball together. This relationship led me to Christ. Stubby baptized me into Christ one evening in 1976 a few months shy of my 20th birthday. He later performed the wedding when my Teresa and I were married and a short time later, he baptized her as well.
There is one story I remember above all others when I think about Stubby. As a younger man, he and his wife lived very near an electrical substation. Late one night, there was a malfunction at the electrical station and there was a loud noise, like a sonic boom, that likely woke the entire neighborhood. The light was as bright as day for several minutes. Stubby’s wife recalled that he was jumping up and down in the middle of the bed thinking it was the coming of the LORD.
“For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.” Luke 17:24
I don’t know what that event will be like. It is beyond man’s ability to even imagine. What I remember is Stubby’s reaction to what he thought was the second coming of Christ. He was literally jumping for joy.
What will be my reaction? If I am alive when that event occurs, what will be my reaction? What is my reaction to just the thought even now? Is it a thought of fear and doubt or is it a thought of joy? Would the event cause me to be jumping for joy? Does the thought of that event cause me to want to hide or jump for joy?
Notice what the Holy Spirit through Paul had to say about the event.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8
To all them that love His appearing. No fear, no doubt; but love His appearing. Joy.
I want to be in that group. As the old song’s refrain goes, “Oh LORD I want to be in that number when the saints go marching in.”
But I realize in order to be in that group I have to prepare for the event.
I read in John 14:6 that Jesus is the only way. There are no multiple routes to heaven. He is the way.
I read in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please Him. I must believe in Him.
The rest of Hebrews 11 illustrates that this faith is more than words. It is an active, obedient faith. My life’s actions must be a testament of my faith. John says that I must walk in the light (1 John 1:7). James tells us to be doers of the word and not hearers only (James 1:22).
If I want to celebrate His return, I must be ready. LORD, help me prepare. I, too, want to jump for joy.