Heaven, Prayer & Devotion

To Die is Gain

20130401-230431.jpgLast year, my husband and I attended a memorial service for a brother in The Lord, who was shot without warning by a complete stranger. Only a couple of months later, we found ourselves in the same place, with tear-stained faces, saying goodbye to a dear sister, who went home to be with The Lord after a long battle with cancer. And now, we are grieving again the loss of another brother in the family of God, who also experienced the debilitating effects of cancer. In each moment, we all agreed that the parting was bittersweet. Those goodbyes tugged at our hearts deeper than any other goodbyes. Though we knew we will meet again in heaven, the reality of never seeing them again in this life was heartbreaking. On the other hand, parting was sweet because they are now in the presence of Christ, no longer in the bodies of pain and death. And the rest of us still here are reminded of what we all look forward to one day. Though filled with sorrow, we can rejoice in saying, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

Life is short. It is a vapor. The Bible says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17). Am I making the most of my time with my husband? With my children? With my friends and family? With my neighbors? With my church? With my Lord? Or am I wasting each day that The Lord gives me because I assume I will have many ahead of me?

It has been a wakeup call, an emphatic reminder to live this earthly life with a heavenly perspective. There are many cares in this life. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you already know one of my greatest concerns is my child. Yours will likely be different from mine, but these concerns, though reasonable, can distract a Christian from his true purpose in life. I’m not saying we should not have them and live carelessly. Rather, we ought to ask ourselves if we face those burdens with a sincere desire to glorify God in EVERYTHING. The Bible calls God’s people citizens of heaven. “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Yes, while residing on this earth that is passing away, I am already a citizen of heaven! This life is only temporary. Soon my stay here will also come to an end, and I will finally be home with The Lord.

I had told my husband that if I die before him (he looked at me crazy, but I like to plan ahead), I wanted “What A Day That Will Be” sung at my funeral. That song expresses my deepest longing, the one thing I desire above all else. That’s Jesus Christ. “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)

FlowersWhat a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be!

(Written by Jim Hill)

(Photo credit 1: Muffet)
(Photo credit 2: G. J. Charlet III)

5 thoughts on “To Die is Gain”

  1. So, I am not the only one to think ahead about funerals… 😉 You are right that it is easy to get trapped in the temporal urgencies of this world and forget our duties to our true home. Thank you for the reminder.

    1. You’re welcome! My husband shared with me the other day that Paul told the believers in 1 Thessalonians to encourage one another concerning the future hope of heaven and Christ’s coming. You are right that we can become so “earth-bound”. We really need to encourage one another about looking towards our permanent dwelling.

  2. Reblogged this on wordfocused and commented:
    In this heart’s response to loss and gain, I find a beautiful wordfocused assurance. I am once again reminded that we are but sojourners and strangers, this world is not our home, and one day – one glorious day – our Lord will take us by the hand and lead us home.

  3. The words of that song reminded me of one of my favorite lines from a song we did recently, “At the Cross” The lyric goes, “And when the earth fades, falls from my eyes, and YOU stand before me, I know you love me.” Death is but a thoroghfare from this life to our home in heaven. Blessings!

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