Disclaimer: As with anything I write, I write with the understanding that we all process death and grieving differently – even as believers – and this is not a judgment or a criticism of anyone who handles these things differently. I write about my own beliefs and understanding of death given the hope that Jesus brings to us all, and I write about how this is playing out in my own life in hopes that it might encourage others in their own journeys.
I have broken this into three posts because of the length. Stay tuned for part two!
Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies
that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
1 Corinthians 15:54-55 NLT
My grandfather, Papa Fay, passed away last June after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was the first (and only, thus far) grandparent I had lost – something I do not take for granted. His death taught me so much and, though I didn’t recognize it at the time, it prepared me for Tori’s passing nine months later.
We watched him decline as the horrible disease overtook his faculties and we prayed for years that the Lord would take him home so that he wouldn’t suffer any longer on this earth. When he went to Heaven on June 10, 2015 he was no longer the man any of us had known and loved – he was merely a shell, a body.
His death brought us joy because we knew for certain that he had a relationship with Jesus and that He was now present with the Lord in Heaven. He could visit with people (his favorite thing to do, a joy that the disease robbed from him as time passed), he could walk, sing, dance, and express himself. He was FREE from the chains of Alzheimer’s Disease at last, and we know that we will one day be reunited with him for eternity. What hope and joy that knowledge brings!
As we watched Tori decline and saw Krabbe taking a strong hold of her precious little body, this experience with Papa Fay brought me such comfort. She was no longer the baby we once had and her brain was gradually losing the ability to function well. If God wasn’t going to heal her here on earth, we were comforted by the knowledge that He would heal her in Heaven.
After all, God’s Word tells us this about Heaven:
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 21:4
When we – as followers of Jesus – are living with Eternity in mind, our earthly perspective on death should shift from sorrow to joy.
How is this possible?
We all know that death is inevitable – Scripture (and life experience) make that clear.
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die. – Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a
And I know you are sending me to my death— the destination of all who live.
– Job 30:23
None of us can hold back our spirit from departing.
None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. – Ecclesiastes 8:8
BUT, we also know that this earth isn’t our home, it isn’t where we belong.
Death is NOT the end of our existence.
We are only here for a short time, to form a relationship with God and to preach the Gospel to all so that all might be saved through Him. We are here to prepare for eternity.
None of us are guaranteed tomorrow:
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.”
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?
Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.
What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”
– James 4:13-15
Don’t brag about tomorrow,
since you don’t know what the day will bring.
– Proverbs 27:1
Since we aren’t going to live on this earth forever, why do we allow ourselves to become so sad when our loved ones who knew Jesus depart for Heaven?
To be continued…