How can death be precious?
My eyes opened after a night of sleep; I focused on my wife across the room, who was marked with sadness. She spoke, “There is something I have to tell you. Mike Ledbetter passed away last night.” My heart sank, my mind quickly retrieved special memories, and my eyes teared up. Mike was my friend. He had joined our congregation about seven years ago, and as a retired missionary, both he and his wife proved to be a tremendous evangelical asset to all of us. But today, his story changed.
With over a quarter of a century of experience, I can say with certainty, over the next few days, I will hear, “We lost a good man,” and, “I am so sorry for your loss.” Those statements irk me as they are not accurate, and they chisel away from the message of love and what the Gospel can do. Mike is not lost; in fact, he is more found than he has ever been. The bible is very clear that for the Christian, the next life is far better than this one, which is why David cries out in Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (NIV)
Streets of gold, walls of jasper, the foundation of precious stone, gates pearl, angelic beings worshipping around the throne of God, a peaceful river, the Tree of Life uprooted and replanted from the Garden of Eden, Jesus Christ Himself standing and ready to personally receive each of us (Rev. 21), and the list goes on and on. The next life is better. But, is Mike Ledbetter lost now? The Apostle Paul answers this very question by encouraging all followers of Jesus that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (II Cor. 5:8).
You see, when I opened my eyes this morning, I became inundated with all of the reminders of the effects that sin has over this world, from the news on the television to the argument in the street outside our camper. I woke up to another day filled with violence, politics, child pornography, protests, and sex trafficking, just to mention a few. Mike closed his eyes down here and opened them up to be with his Savior forever. Mike, lost? No, he is more found than he ever has been. Mike is home, happy, healed, and healthy, and there is no amount of convincing that will ever bring him back; he just waits for us all to join him. That is what the power of love and the Gospel can do!
Perhaps you’re struggling with the recent passing of a loved one. Or, you may be anxious about your death, what will become of you? Friend, may this devotion today provide you with peace and joy in either situation; to know the truth is to set you free.
Scripture: “Having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18 ESV)
Question: Am I allowing my feelings to drive me, or are my eyes wide open to the truth of God’s promises concerning the next life?
Prayer: Father, when those times of sadness and missing overtake our lives, please remind me of your truth and of the hope we have through your Son. May I focus more on what my loved one has gained and to celebrate the difference that they made while on this earth and that I have the opportunity to be with them again very soon. Thank you for loving us so much that even death is not something to fear but a gift of love. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray, amen.