Walking up to a graveside service on Tuesday the son-in-law of the deceased said this was “really a blessing.” Kaye had suffered from Alzheimer’s for fifteen years. When a person has struggled physically and/or mentally death is sometimes welcome. No matter the circumstances, the loss of a loved one causes the beginning of a grieving process. Often thoughts follow about the meaning of life and what will happen to us when it is over.
Jesus said “’Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way? Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:1-6) In Revelation 21: 3-4 John wrote “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away.’”
Scripture does not give a complete account of what heaven is like, but what we read of eternal life with God is far better than anything we can imagine. There is a Loretta Lynn song with the lyrics “Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.” It is true that many of us don’t look forward to death. In a small group Bible Study a widow succinctly explained a caveat to this. She said, “It’s not that we don’t want to die. We look forward to what is coming. We just worry about what we’ll have to go through to get there.”
Like this friend, the apostle Paul understood his purpose on earth as well as his hope for the life to come. He wrote in Philippians 1:21 “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” If you have a chance, listen to Sidewalk Prophets’ song “To Live is Christ” based on that verse.
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54) It has lost its sting. In Christ, we have the sure and certain hope of being made whole and joyously living with him forever. Thanks be to God!