And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
This evening, my great-uncle, Johnny Estes died following an ever-so-brief bout with bone cancer. The husband of my grandmother’s sister, Uncle Johnny was a pillar of the town of Maryville, TN. For many years he was a school principal, and a pastor. I know that before its recent population explosion, one would be hard-pressed to find a person in Maryville who had not been touched by Uncle Johnny’s influence.
I remember Uncle Johnny as a large, vociferous man who would never be short of an opinion on any given subject. The strange thing is that he actually had something to say, rather than just rattling off empty thoughts as many are given to do. He was one of those rare saints who would never let his stature get to his head, and behind many of his fantastic stories was a man as kind-hearted as anyone could ever meet.
I recall from my childhood his colorful description of how to get to his house. He said that you would have to go through the woods and swing the grapevine over the creek to get to his house. There is no doubt that Johnny Estes swung into heaven on a grapevine today. And I’ll bet he was pulled to the bank by the One who has taken his pain away. Here he will be missed.