On The Other Side Of The Door

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.

Rounding The Last Corner

Every morning by 6:00am our dog, Jack, and I are out the door to greet the day.  I love the feel of the morning coolness touching my face.  Jack never tires of this walk even though it’s the same route day after day.  We make our way through the neighborhood, crossing streets at particular places and slipping down short lanes.  Jack is never in a hurry, taking time to enjoy the smell of blades of grass and bushes lining the way.  He ambles along — until we round the last corner.  When we get to this last stretch before reaching home, his pace quickens, mouth opens and eyes are shining, curly tail up.  As much as he just enjoyed his walk, he knows what awaits him.  Joyful anticipation is noticeable.  He makes me smile as I observe his happy behavior for what he knows is surely to be his — the morning peanut butter stick!  Oh, ecstasy!

As I watch Jack, thoughts  come to me of our own journey to our real home.  Here on earth we wade through the toils of the day, engage in times of hard work and relaxation. We experience stress and happiness.  At the end of each day, perhaps we, too, anticipate what joy awaits us behind the closed door to the place we call home; or sadly, perhaps it’s a dreaded necessity that we must endure until morning comes to take us away again.  On earth, emotions range wide between the very good and the very bad.  Oh, but like Jack, as we round the last corner before we reach our final destination, inexpressible joy awaits all who are joined together in Jesus Christ.

I vividly recall the last week of my father’s life on earth.  He was peaceful, joyful, feeling the anticipation; like Jack with his peanut butter stick, the moment he would actually look into the face of Jesus.  My Dad would say things like, “I can’t really imagine what it will be like, but I know I won’t be disappointed.”

Most people take their final turn of the corner home in old age or due to sickness, but it’s a different moment for each of us.  Whether young or old, as each day fades into a new one, we are one day closer to that corner and the anticipated promises of eternity in the presence of Jesus.

“I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people.  God Himself will be with them.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, or sorrow, or crying or pain.  All these things are gone forever.'”  Revelation 21:3-4

May your journey today be blessed with Father’s strength, peace, courage, and joy, to take you closer to your final corner.  Oh, what a day of rejoicing that will be!