This week I attended the funeral of a very dear friend. When I was much younger I dreaded the very thought of a funeral. It seemed a scary thing to me. Now, my understanding has deepened. I have come to understand that for the one who personally knows Jesus, a funeral is not merely an acknowledgement of death; it is a celebration of life lifted to a new height. The spirit has left earth to see the face of Jesus.
What a promise to everyone who knows Him. Just think, the moment we exhale our last breath on earth, we inhale our first breath in sheer paradise. Sickness is suddenly vanished. Tears are no more. Pain is gone, never to return. Grief, despair, tiredness have all ceased to exist. Loneliness can never be known again. Feelings of low self esteem and rejection will never touch us.
When we try our best to imagine this reality, the very thought sends, what I call, joy bumps all over. Someone we love may have passed on to their new life and we are saddened not to see them for awhile; but indeed, it is only for awhile. Parting is not forever for those who are counted as God’s own children; it’s just a temporary separation. It’s a time not to dwell on the departure, but to look forward to the reunion.
That must be why Paul could say in II Corinthians 5:8, “Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.” Our earthly homes are just a part of our pilgrimage as we pass through life on earth, en route to our final destination, which is to behold the face of the One who made the only way for us to have eternal life with Him.
As the old hymn says, “What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see, and I look upon His face, the One who saved me by His grace.”