Life was so simple –
Beautiful, musical and fun
As brother and sister ran together up hills of exploration
And through fields of laughter.
Mama watched and Papa got down on the ground and played.
O, it seemed like each day was going to last forever.
But that was before yesterday.

Lessons about God were read daily from the scroll.
Our forefather’s victories and failures were all there.
Each day was a reminder of lessons to be learned from the past.
God was close and was watching over us – we felt strangely wonderful and blessed.
But that was before yesterday.

Then one day when the sky was gray
Papa was taken by big men in uniforms and marched away.
No hugs or kisses. No good-byes. No waves.
Mama said that he had a job to do that was very important.
He would be back soon.
But that was before yesterday.

Soon after Mama said that she too had a special job.
And all the children would accompany their mothers
To the place where their fathers were.
A final solution!
Such excitement was within.
A child’s adventure ahead? Perhaps.
But that was before yesterday.

Mama whispered ever so cautiously as we walked along,
And told us to run and hide. “Don’t ask why, children.”
Ah, we thought – a new game.
The big men with helmets did not see the brush we jumped into.
We breathed quietly and spoke not a word,
Remembering Mama’s words all our lives:
“I’ll come for you tomorrow.”
But that was before yesterday.

Bleakness sadness and hopelessness engulfed all of life:
“God, it’s your fault!
You let Mama and Papa be taken and die.
Where were you when we needed you?
We always thought you were close by.”
But that was before yesterday.

Purged from our minds,
God ceased to exist.
Life went on with us in its center.
Bitterness tainted our words and thoughts
We had made it alive but we were still angry.
The Gentiles did this to us in the name of Jesus Christ – that’s what we were taught.
And someone needed to pay.
But that was before yesterday.

Those kind eyes took our abuse, our slander, our blasphemy,
And watered from our repeated rejection.
The guilt of sin struck within, almost without explanation –
The need for redemption and forgiveness.
Could it be true what the law and the prophets foretold
Of the Messiah to come
Were all fulfilled by Yeshua-Jesus?
Was it so that His blood was spilled
To pay my entire debt of sin?
Was His resurrection proof that the True and Living God was satisfied,
And that my sin was forever atoned for?
There could be no delay, the evidence was irrefutable.
I was lost! I needed to be born again.
But that was before yesterday.

The years are nearly spent now.
My vision is dimmed, my hearing not so good.
The days outside are mostly to see doctors.
Disease has worked its work in my body.
Yet I am at peace with God.
When I called on His Son those years ago,
His grace was still sufficient to save me
As I put only faith in Him for my eternal salvation.

Yes it is true,
I was filled with hatred and bitterness toward those
Who took the beauty and wonder of life,
As well as Mama and Papa from my sister and me.
I despised God and denied He even existed by my actions for so many years.
I have blamed others and been very unloving.
But Praise God.
That was before Yeshua, before Jesus Christ saved me,
Made me His very own child, redeemed me from the slave market of sin,
And filled my heart with compassion for those who are like I was-
Before yesterday.

And while Mama’s words of promise so long ago to return for us could not be kept,
I now have a greater promise that will be, for Jesus said in John 14:1-3,

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you Unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

One day I will be able to look at this verse experientially in the past tense and say,
But that was before yesterday!

-T. Michael Eccleston