by William MacDonald
How are we to react when one of our loved ones dies in the Lord? Some Christians fall apart emotionally. Others, while sorrowful, are able to bear up heroically. It depends on how deep our roots are in God and how fully we appropriate the great truths of our faith.
First of all, we should view the death from the Savior's standpoint. It is an answer to His prayer in John 17:24, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory…" When our loved ones go to be with Him, He sees of the travail of His soul and is satisfied (Isaiah 53:11). "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints" (Psalms 116:15).
Then we should appreciate what it means to the one who has died. He has been ushered in to see the King in His beauty. He is forever free from sin, sickness, suffering and sorrow. He has been taken away from the evil to come (Isaiah 57:1). "Nothing compares with the homegoing of a saint of God…to go home, to leave these old clods of clay, to be loosed from the bondage of the material-welcomed by the innumerable company of angels." Bishop Ryle wrote, "The very moment that believers die, they are in paradise. Their battle is fought. Their strife is over. They have passed through that gloomy valley we must one day tread. They have gone over that dark river we must one day cross. They have drunk that last bitter cup which sin has mingled for man. They have reached that place where sorrow and sighing are no more. Surely we should not wish them back again! We should not weep for them but for ourselves." Faith appropriates this truth and is enabled to stand firm like a tree planted by rivers of water.
For us the death of a loved one always involves sadness. But we sorrow not as others who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). We know that our loved one is with Christ, which is far better. We know that the separation is only for a little while. Then we will be reunited on the hillsides of Immanuel's land, and will know each other under better circumstances than we have ever known down here. We look forward to the Lord's coming when the dead in Christ shall rise first, we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). This hope makes all the difference.
And so the consolations of God are not too small for us (Job 15:11). Our sorrow is mingled with joy, and our sense of loss is more than compensated by the promise of eternal blessing.
Bible Verses: 1 Thessalonians 4:14John 17:24Isaiah 53:11Psalms 116:15Isaiah 57:11 Thessalonians 4:131 Thessalonians 4:16-17Job 15:11
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