He will turn the hearts of the fathers [and mothers] to their children; and the hearts of the children to their fathers [and mothers]; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse. –Malachi 4:6
My mother had been very sick with cancer. We knew she was going to die. Over the months of her sickness, my mom and I had some very special talks about life, God, and our family. My emotions were often raw. I would laugh harder and cry harder than I ever had before.
My mom’s body was shutting down. It was only a matter of time. Almost every day, as her youngest son, I would find the time out of the busyness of life to sit with her, since she was confined to her hospice-care bed. That July, I was struggling with the idea of leaving leave my mom’s bedside to go and speak to 6,000 students in Colorado at an international denominational youth event.
The day before I was to leave, my mom seemed to be doing better than she had for many weeks. She told me, “Go and speak to the kids and I will be right here when you get back.” Hesitantly, I decided she was right. As I left the room she called out to me in a very weak voice, “Jimmy, I love you.”
“I love you too, Mom.”
I left for Colorado and spoke to the students. After the evening event at the conference, I came back to my hotel room, and there was a message to call my wife. Cathy told me that my mom passed away.
I was crushed that I had not been there with her. After a restless night of thoughts, tears and prayers, I left for the airport and then it dawned on me: the last words my mother ever said to me were, “I love you, Jimmy.” The last words I ever said to her were “I love you too, Mom.” What a blessing!
How is your relationship with your family? Is there an atmosphere of love and warmth, or is there some hostility? Whatever your relationship is like with your family, the biblical mandate is to be loving and supportive. God’s vehicle for faith and love is often the family. Who do you need to say, “I love you” to today?
1. The very last verse of the Old Testament is Malachi 4:6. What do you think that verse means for today’s generation? For your own family relationships?
2. Who is on your list of family members or close friends who could use an expression of warmth and love from you today? What will you tell them? If you can’t say it in person, write a note or an email, or pick up the phone.
Psalm 85:10; Proverbs 3:3-4