The death of a loved one always brings with it a crushing sense of loss, but Jesus’ resurrection guarantees eternal life together for all who trust in him.
It’s a phone call that occurs thousands of times every day. But if you’re on the receiving end of it, most often you’re not expecting it.
Loss on earth
Mine came from my younger brother early on a Sunday afternoon last February. I don’t recall his words exactly. He informed me that the Lord had suddenly called our father home to heaven. One minute he was here on earth, and the next minute he was in heaven. We agreed to talk again later that day.
Then it hit me. I had planned to visit my father in a few weeks. That would not happen now. Nor would we share Easter greetings. It would be my first Father’s Day without him. I would never again be on the receiving end of his fatherly and pastoral advice.
I began receiving condolences almost immediately. Their common theme was an expression of sympathy at the loss of my father.
But that changed with the visitation and his Christian funeral. The line of people was long, and most of them shared their confidence that my father was now where he longed to be all his life—at his Savior’s side in heaven. His funeral service was appropriately titled a “Celebration of Eternal Life.” Another soul victoriously among the saints triumphant.
Life in heaven
The death of a loved one always brings with it the crushing sense of loss. Perhaps you enjoyed your loved one’s companionship, love, and support for decades. Your relationship was one of those blessings that filled you with thanks to your Lord who had brought that person into your life. But the Lord decided to take that loved one away. Maybe suddenly. Perhaps even tragically. And now you wait to join her or him in the mansion that Jesus has prepared for all who love and trust in him. But that was always our Lord’s plan for your loved one and you.
You see, the Bible informs us that God’s plan for us began in eternity, before he created all things. In eternity he chose us and destined us for life with him in heaven. In your lifetime he brought you and your loved one to faith in Jesus as the One who lived, died, and rose again for you. Yes, he did that so that he could bless you and your loved one in this lifetime, but his plan and purpose was always to bring your loved one and you to heaven. And when that happens, it’s sweet victory!
In order for God to accomplish that goal, he sacrificed his Son for a world full of sinners, for your loved one and for you. His Son’s resurrection from the dead is the guarantee that life eternal belongs to all who trust in Christ. The final step in God’s plan is to call each of those whom he has chosen home to him in heaven. And each time that occurs, it’s another victory!
My father was known to greet his pastors at church on Sunday morning with the encouragement, “Preach the gospel to me today. I’m an old man, and I don’t have many more opportunities to hear it.” He wasn’t able to hear his pastor preach the gospel that February Sunday morning. But he is experiencing something far greater. He is living in the presence of his Savior who had redeemed him and now has given him the crown of victory. Another saint triumphant!
Author: Joel Voss
Volume 108, Number 11
Issue: November 2021