Tuesday, November 12, 2013
“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:23,24 KJV).
Before we go on to the next world, we must tarry in this one….
Not too long ago, I visited the grave of a recently departed saint and a family friend of many years. Another Christian and I stood by her grave with her widowed husband, and there we discussed our memories of her. In that time of great emotion, we rejoiced that she is free from frailty and suffering, and yet, we mourned that we will never see her again in this life.
It is never easy to lose a loved one, even if that person had a testimony of having trusted Jesus Christ alone as personal Saviour. We still miss their phone calls, visits, voices, and friendship. Even as Christians, we are not shielded from physical death: short of the Lord’s coming for us, we and all other Christians we know will die. Such is a part of living in a sin-cursed world.
The Bible’s shortest verse, John 11:35, simply says, “Jesus wept.” Upon seeing the tomb of his friend Lazarus, Jesus is deeply moved inside, knowing that death has Lazarus captive and his family members and friends are heartbroken. Amidst Jesus’s tears, He shouts, “Lazarus, come forth!” Lazarus, all bound in burial clothes, hops out, as alive as ever! The crowd is not only amazed at the love Jesus had for Lazarus, but also at Jesus’ power demonstrated at such a morose occasion.
We are tempted to wish the Lord Jesus Christ would appear at the graves of our departed Christian loved ones and do what He did at Lazarus’s tomb. How we long to be with them, to be out of this world of pain and suffering. How we “look for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,” to see those saints once more.
Yet, as we tarry here and long for there, let us remember why we are here….