Last evening I attended a service of remembrance and celebration for the life of a friend who has recently passed away. It was an atmosphere of shared grief mingled with a tender joy in knowing that our friend is indeed now in heaven. The joy he is experiencing is immeasurable.
After the service a friend shared a story that touched me very much and filled me with a sense of quiet thrill at what lies ahead, when the time of my own journey on earth, comes to an end. The story goes that someone she knows was visiting a friend. It was the first time at this friend’s house. At one point during the visit, the owner of the home excused himself and left the room for a moment. During that time there sounded from another door in the room a peculiar noise. The man strained to listen and identify what he was hearing. It seemed to him to be a sort of muffled thud. For a moment he was slightly fearful because the noise was so strange and grew louder. Finally, he stood, walked across the room, and carefully opened the door. In bounded a most exuberant large dog, tail wagging, body twisting in happiness, as if the man whom he had never seen before, was a long lost friend.
The lady telling this story at our gathering last evening went on to say that this story reminded her of how it will be when we get to heaven. She said at times when we think of death we might sense a shiver of fear because it’s an unknown. What happens to us the moment we take our last breath on earth? Will it hurt? Will it be dark? Will one be alone? She said that all those fears of the unknown will be instantly replaced with the greatest of joy because when the door of death opens, in bounds the most exuberant of joy when our eyes catch our first sight of Jesus; His loving eyes peering into ours with indescribable love and welcome.
“We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. We eagerly wait for Him…” Philippians 3:20
When we know Him, truly know Him. fear of death may come to our minds from time to time because we are mere humans, but when that moment comes that we appear at death’s door, what glorious wonder, peace, and joy will flood into our being, and this joy will not be temporary. It will last for eternity.