On September 4, 1939, six-year-old Sharon and her 9-year-old sister Emily were taken from their mother’s arms and put on a train to leave London for the next four years.  The incessant Nazi bombing of London would displace over 800,000 school-aged children in similar fashion.  When the train came to a halt in Hatton Derbyshire the children were told to walk down the main street.  Emily and Sharon, hand in hand, did as told.  One and two at a time the 100’s of children were “claimed” by receiving families and taken into houses.  Our two skinny little friends continued on, unclaimed and eventually arrived at the edge of town, dirty, crying and confused about what to do facing farmers fields with no homes left.  A woman saw them, came out into the field, and took them home though largely against her best wishes.   

Fifty-two years later I became a part of this story.  Sharon was the regular salesperson at a new-home community.  On closing day, when the first keys were to be handed out, Sharon called in sick and I was re-assigned to take care of that usually-delightful chore.  About 4:00 PM, I gave the house keys to a woman with a thick German accent.  Thirty minutes later she came back into the office, red faced and screaming at the top of her lungs.  Over and over she kept saying “neger schwarz nebenan.”  Apparently she had just discovered that the neighbors who had bought the homes on either side of her were not Arian.   I never asked Sharon if she had engineered the whole event.  She did say this, “I bet you had an interesting day, didn’t you?”  

Our current pandemic is nothing new.  Wars cost more lives and the aftermath is felt for decades if not centuries.  Famine, drought, diseases, dictators, conflicts, and evil have been around for a very long time.  Remember, the first “born” human Cain killed the second born Able.  We were not off to a good start.  Adam and Eve had been kicked out of the Garden of Eden which was paradise.  Our separation from a loving God was just starting.   

Many times there have been revivals.  Some were large in scope and others not so much.  The one that counts is the restoration that starts in the heart of one individual.  This single-person revival brings a smile to the face of the Maker and shouts of joy from the heavenly host.  Jesus told this story with the return of the prodigal son, the tale of the lost coin in the woman’s home, and the hunt for the one sheep while leaving the ninety-nine.   

I don’t know why I cry in movies, but it always happens over the same scene.  A reunion, especially one where two people hug, gets to me.  It may have to do with a Marine Corps father that went off to war, sometimes for more than a year.  When he returned, the joy was enough to choke me.   Now it is just enough to choke me up.  Can you imagine how God must feel when we leave the evil behind and return to Him?

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