Dr. Criswell, long-time pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, was once traveling by plane to attend a speaking engagement on the East coast. After boarding the aircraft and getting settled, he was thrilled to recognize the man in the seat beside him as a well-known Christian theologian. Criswell greatly admired this man and was eager to get to know him. Soon the plane left the ground and after it settled into cruising altitude, Criswell introduced himself and the two began to speak.
The theologian told the pastor how he had recently lost his four-year old son to a terrible illness. It began innocently enough when the child was sent home from school one afternoon after developing a fever. At first the parents thought it was a typical childhood illness that would soon run its course, but his condition continued to worsen so that evening took him to the hospital. The doctors ran a battery of tests and told the parents tragic news – their son had a virulent form of meningitis and there was nothing they could do for him. The child was beyond their help and was going to die.
The loving parents did the only thing they could do, which was sit with their son in a death vigil. It was the middle of the day, only a few days after he became sick, and the illness was causing the little boy’s vision began to fade. He looked up at his daddy and said softly,”Daddy, it’s getting dark, isn’t it?”
The professor replied, “Yes, son, it is dark. It’s very dark.” And for the father it was.
The little boy said, “I guess it’s time for me to get to sleep, isn’t it?”
“Yes son, it’s time for you to sleep,” said the father.
The theologian explained to Dr. Criswell how his son liked his pillow and his blankets arranged just so and that he laid head on his hands while he slept. He told how he helped the child fix his pillow and how his little boy rested his head on his hands and said, “Good night daddy. I’ll see you in the morning.” With that the little boy closed his eyes and fell asleep. Only a few minutes later his little chest rose and fell for the last time and his life was over almost before it began.
The professor stopped talking and looked out the window of the airplane for a good long time. Finally he turned to Dr. Criswell and with his voice breaking and tears spilling onto his cheeks said, “I can hardly wait for morning to come!”
Though it may merely sound like the cry of a grief-stricken parent, the father’s words speak of far more. They speak of a profoundly beautiful truth, for the Lord Jesus Christ promised us that the morning will come. Death has been defeated and even now we await the dawn when Christ will return and death shall be no more. Only through Jesus can we have the hope of eternal life that sustains the grief-stricken father. Only through Jesus can we have assurance that he “will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.” (Revelation 21:4) Little boys will be reunited with their fathers so together they can dance for joy before the One who tasted and defeated death so others could have life.
God offers us this assurance only to those who will look to Him. Do you believe in Him? Have you looked to Jesus and cried out for Him to give you life? Cry out to Him, that He would give you the assurance that the morning will soon come.