No one likes to think about death. However, the older a person gets the more the subject will arise through conversations or attending another friend’s funeral. The Bible tells us that “when we grieve, we don’t have to grieve as those who have no hope.” (I Thes. 4:13). So grieving is natural and to be expected when a loved one has left this earth to be in the presence of Jesus. We didn’t lose anyone. There has simply been a change in their address if they know Jesus.
Several years ago I lost a sweet friend to cancer. She had a husband and two very young girls under 7. It was heart breaking yet a touching passing as her husband held her while they listened to worship music and they said their goodbye’s. He awakened his young children to tell them the angels came to get mommy. This family knew Jesus and they had tremendous faith and hope. I remember having some very different perspectives during this time. Let me explain.
We learned a new definition for “eternity” many years ago. We often ask people how they would define eternity. Most will say that it means living forever in heaven with God. I now see that definition as incomplete. I John mentions several times that eternity is a person. (I John 1:1&2, 5:11&12, 5:20). When I received eternal life I received a new life altogether. I received Jesus very life. He actually came to live inside of me. Therefore, He wants to live in and through me. The Bible often says we are IN HIM and He is IN US. If a baby is inside their mother, that baby will go wherever the mother goes. The child is IN the mother.
It’s hard for us to wrap our heads around a new definition for eternity because we are time creatures. God is not a time creature. He can see the entire parade of life in the skyscraper all at the same time. He can see Adam and Eve in the garden, Noah on the ark, David on his throne, Jesus ministering on earth, our birth and all of His children with Him in heaven. This is why Romans 6 tell us the old you and me was crucified WITH Him, buried WITH Him and raised WITH Him. In Ephesians 2:6 we see that we are seated WITH Him right now in Heavenly Places. Think about that for a minute in reference to death.
Did my friend close her eyes on earth saying goodbye to her husband and then open her eyes in heaven to say hello to her believing husband? I’ve never heard anyone teach this concept but could that not be reality? We are spiritual beings right now. Our oneness with Christ is real. God’s word is true. And for me, this gives the death of a loved one a whole new meaning. I’m WITH them for eternity! They are not waiting on me to arrive. However, the physical me is here on earth missing them so grieving is appropriate for a time. But God gives us hope too on our end of this journey. Scripture says, “Set your mind on things above, where Christ is seated.” (Col. 3:1-3) If we focus on the real you and me being IN Christ things can get easier in time. That’s why we can grieve BUT not as those who have no hope.
There was a song I heard as a little girl. The words said, “This is not my home, I’m just a passin through.” Again, we are time creatures but with God 1000 years is the same as 1 day. Mind blowing I know but comforting at the same time. We are safe and secure IN Christ and so are our loved ones FOREVER! Another thing to remember is if Jesus is IN me HE feels my pain also when I grieve. He knows how bad it hurts. And He comforts and heals our hearts through time. However, don’t forget to set your mind on things above as we live this life accomplishing what we were created to accomplish. Keeping our minds straight is the struggle. There is a time appointed for death (Heb.9:27) but that does not mean we no longer exist. Our loved ones who have passed are more alive right now than we can even imagine.