Flashback: We’ll Meet Again

We were recently reminded once again of the great generation of Americans that helped preserve our freedom by defeating the likes of Adolf Hitler in Germany, Benito Mussolini in Italy, and Tito in Japan.  The occasion was Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th, 1941; a day that has lived and continues to live in infamy for the past many decades. It was in 2018 that, for the first time, no surviving member of the USS Arizona, that still lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbor entombing some 1,200 sailors, was able to make it to the ceremony.  Only five of those men remained and all were over 96 years of age.

It was their generation that left hearth, home, and family to go to foreign fields of battle and oceans of conflict. Over 16 million Americans served in WWII thus wrenching them from their normal civilian lives, careers, and loved ones in order to defeat the tyranny that was then engulfing much of the world. 

During that time popular songs were written and sung in order to express some of the dynamics of that day; especially the separation of loved ones that the war occasioned. One such song was “We’ll Meet Again”.  It goes like this:

We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
‘Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away

So will you please say hello
To the folks that I know
Tell them I won’t be long
They’ll be happy to know 
That as you saw me go
I was singing this song

We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day

Can you imagine how heart wrenching it was for one saying good-bye to a loved one going off to war, to sing this song?  The song was meant to be an optimistic expression of a reuniting regardless of the perils that lay ahead.  I’m sure it was a comfort to many in that day; tentatively so due to the fact that none could predict or control the future.

But it was no more heart wrenching than for Jesus’ disciples to learn that He was going away via his death on the cross.  Jesus began to deliver this hard message to his men beginning in John 14. He told them he was going away and they could not follow (Jn. 14:1-7). He promised them “another comforter” beginning in 14:15, i.e. the Holy Spirit.  This continues on through Jn. 16:15. He then again affirms to them that he is going to be leaving.  But in one last assurance he says in 16:22, “…you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice.”

This was simply the promise of them seeing him after the resurrection. This is also the promise of his second coming after his ascension.  Unlike the sentiment of the song that was based in simple optimism, Jesus makes a promise; I will see you again. This promise is not relegated only to the disciples. It is for us today as well.  No, we have not yet seen Jesus, but we will see him “again” in the second coming.  This is not just an artistic sentiment.  This is a promise. 

Now, many generations have “seen him again” in their passage from this world to the next via death.  But there will be a generation who will literally see him in the second coming. 

As a generation of war stricken Americans clung to the sentiment of that song, so let us even more fervently cling to the hope of seeing Christ in his second coming. Even so Lord Jesus, come quickly.


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