The waves rolled over his body as he lay there on the white sand. He opened his eyes to a light so bright, so pure, that it took his breath away.
His first breath on eternity’s shore.
He stood to his feet, and wobbled a little, wiping the water from his face. He looked around to us left and his right; there was nothing to see but endless shoreline, and everlasting light. His eyes wandered up the sand dunes in front of him, and he fell back down to his knees.
Gates of gold. Like no riches he had ever seen.
He clamored up the dunes, he could not run to them fast enough. As he stood breathless before them, he reached to open the door, when someone opened them for him.
The gates flew open wide, the sound of angels blew past his body, like a mighty rushing wind. He took a step back and braced himself, putting his hands in front of his face to shield him from the blinding light that was pouring from the gates. And once he found his footing, and his eyes adjusted to the light, that was when he saw Him. And he fell to his knees, again.
“George.” His voice was loud and strong, yet gentle and merciful. “George Herbert Walker Bush. You once said that no definition of a successful life can do anything but include serving others. But when you served others, you also served me well. You loved all people in my name lived by My Truth. Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into my paradise.”
George looked up at Jesus and then down at His hands. He placed his fingers in the holes that were borne for the forgiveness of his sins, and George stood up and threw his arms around Jesus’ neck, tears streaming from his face.
“Thank you, Jesus, for what you did for me,” whispered George.
George loosened his grip around Jesus, as the Son wiped the tears from George’s face. “And George?” Jesus said to him. “Don’t forget that it wasn’t just for you that I died. Don’t you see? Don’t you remember? I make all things new.” And at that moment, Jesus stepped aside and stretched out his arm into his paradise. And through the gates, he saw them.
Barbara and Robin.
They turned around and their eyes met with George’s. The tiny child, running with her bouncing, golden locks and chubby hands, outstretched for her Daddy; her mama, his bride, close behind. George ran through the gates and rushed into the arms of his loves. They fell to the ground in a heap, Robin’s tiny body snuggled into George’s chest like he had longed for for so many years. Her giggles, so perfectly joyful, her eyes bright in perfect health. His kissed the lips of his wife and held her hands and stroked her face. “What kept you so long, my darling?” She smiled.
And at that moment, the arms of the Son wrapped around the reunited family. “Oh George,” Jesus said, “Isn’t it good to finally be home?”
“I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large, but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater. And if our flaws are endless, God’s love is truly boundless.” George HW Bush, 41st President of the United States.