Writer and speaker Carol Kent tells about a couple she met in Indianapolis, Indiana, named Pam and Bill Mutz. She was immediately impressed with the quality parenting these two were giving their three children. Carol asked her hostess what made their home so uniquely special. She began her story.
A few years earlier, when their older daughter, Cari, was just two-and-a-half years old and their son, Jonathan, was seven months old, the children were in the bathtub together. That week Pam and Bill had out-of-town company, and the guest had brought two dogs with him that were left outside in the yard. While Pam was bathing her children, she became concerned that the dogs might get too far from the house. Jonathan had been sitting up well on his own, and Pam turned to Cari and said, "Honey, please watch your brother for just a minute while Mama checks on those dogs."
Pam was gone a short time, but when she returned, Jonathan was under water. Cari didn't realize the danger. Pam grabbed her son and screamed for the guest, who came down and did mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while Pam called for an ambulance.
"They laid my Jonathan on a stretcher and worked feverishly over him, but even before we reached the hospital, I knew that he was gone," Pam said. In the days that followed, friends and family gathered, feeling Pam and Bill's grief as their very own.
Carol asked Pam about the long-term effect of this crisis point in their home. She said, "Carol, God has done an emotional and spiritual healing here that even psychologists do not understand. We know it's the Lord."
She continued, "Cari speaks often of her brother and looks forward to seeing him in heaven someday. Every time she gets a helium balloon, she rushes outside. Then she lets it go as she shouts into the heavens, `Jesus, this is for Jonathan, and tell him it's from Cari!' I just know those balloons will make it--all the way! One day, perhaps, Jonathan will greet us with an armful of balloons when we have the privilege of joining him in heaven!"
Jesus' prayer is that each of us would have that same confidence. He wants us to have unity with one another. He wants us also to have unity with God. God is our refuge and strength. He also wants us to know that the bonds that join us to one another and to God are eternal. Nothing will ever break them. Not even death will snatch us from Him or from those we love.