Welcome Home

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager
to make your calling and election sure.
For if you do these things, you will never fall,
and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:10-11

It was powerful!

Bagpipes played as the horse drawn caisson rolled past an army of gray-clad Troopers. Upon its carriage deck lay a flag covered casket that held the body of an old friend of mine. A true warrior. A brother in Christ—Trooper 352: Andrew James Stocks, N.C. Highway Patrol. We called him A. J.

The Caisson moved quietly to the clicking hooves of six magnificent black creatures, well-groomed horses in regal parade dress, one without rider to signify loss. The horses stopped. Six Troopers stepped forward and removed the casket. They marched quietly into the building and set it in a place of prominence in the front of the church.

The service was awe inspiring, a beautiful memorial to the life of a true first responder—A.J.: U.S. Marine-Crash Firefighter, N.C. Paramedic, N.C. Paramedic Instructor, U.S. Army Ordinance Soldier, and lastly, N.C. State Trooper. Yes, A.J. dedicated his entire career to the service of others. He risked his life so that others might live and, in the end, gave his life selflessly in the line of duty. He was and still is a true hero.

I felt myself jump at the offering of the twenty-one gun salute. Tears filled my eyes as I heard the bagpipes play and the peaceful closing hymns. But I felt my life change at the offering of the radio report that ended the service. A strong male voice came over the air. I felt confused. It surprised me.

“Raleigh, Troop C—”

Silence fell over the room. At first I thought it was a mistake, someone’s radio, a Trooper’s handheld crackling to life. But then it came again, crisp and clear, a strong voice from somewhere overhead.

“Troop C—”

Dead silence this time. It wasn’t a radio; it was a real dispatch going over the air for N.C. Troopers everywhere to hear.

“Troop C…Attention! Trooper 3-5-2 is 10-42.”

10-42…Ending tour of duty.

A. J.’s work on earth was complete, and with that God moved him to his new home in heaven. I know he’s there because I asked him one day, “How can you be sure?” He answered, “Because, Pat, I know Jesus Christ died for my sins.”

So A. J. has a new home now, and oh what a mansion! Can you imagine it? Built by God’s own hands? And it must be marvelous too, for Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. I am going there to prepare a place for you. I will come back and take you to be with me.”

And He did. Jesus came and took my friend home. So wait there for me, brother. Someday Jesus will come to get me too.

Your Turn

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Why are you looking forward to heaven?

by Pat Patterson

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I am a paramedic, an educator, a family man, and an adventurer. I love life, and live to go fast. I used to race motorcycles, now I ride a mountain bike. I have sailed since I was nine, taken a million pictures, studied many topics, and bandaged a lot of people. I write about what I know. So if my stories are gritty, a little fast, colorful and full of adventure, it’s because I’ve been there, on the water, in the woods, and on the street, with dying people in my arms, and that has left a deep impression on my heart.

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.