What Will Happen
27 August 2015
Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4; Psalm 49
13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 NLT)
I didn’t get to be present when either of my parents died. My father died very unexpectedly while I was living in Jamaica, and my mother died after a short illness when I was living in London. Since coming back to the US, I’ve had the privilege of being with some godly people, Christ-followers, in their final earth-hours.
My friend Gary and I stood by the bedside of Ed, a godly man, a Christ-follower, who was dying. He had lived a good life and now in his 80’s his body was shutting down. But Ed was ready and eager to “go home” and be with the Lord. Ed lapsed in and out of consciousness as his heart and lungs labored to keep his body going. When I put my hand on his hand or his forehead, he opened his eyes and I could see that we connected. Then he faded out again. Within a few hours, Ed’s body finally shut down, and his spirit was released to be with his Master Jesus for eternity.
As I stood beside the bed and prayed and waited, I thought that this is a most elemental aspect of our faith in Jesus Christ. Our faith tells us that at the moment our body ceases to be alive, our eternal spirit, born again through simple faith in Jesus Christ, goes into the presence of God and lives with him for all eternity.
We have no scientific evidence that this is what takes place. God’s Word tells us it is true and we choose to believe it. I believe that Ed is alive forever – that as his failing body gave out and gave up, his eternal spirit began a new phase of everlasting life. I believe this is, and will be, true for you and for me and for every reborn follower of Jesus!
Father, Thanks for the opportunities I’ve had to be with Ed and other faithful people in the last hours and moments of the earth-season of their eternal lives. Thanks for leading me through the process of considering one of the elemental aspects of my faith. We know what will happen! I do believe. Amen.