When loved ones depart on a voyage, it is customary to see them off and wish them a bon voyage, a good trip.
It is not unusual for there to be tears of emotion on the cheeks of those left behind as they see the vessel carrying their loved ones away disappearing beyond the horizon or into the clouds.
This is especially true when the timing or circumstances of our reunion with those departing is uncertain.
There is a voyage that awaits us all at the moment of our physical death. Although the dwelling place in which we lived will be left behind, the real us will depart and enter into our Heavenly dwellings.
Arrangements will be made or carried out, but as for us, we will have already departed. The odd thing about the funeral ritual is that it is one event in which the person who is the focus of attention is never present.
I am not of Irish lineage, but I understand that it is customary in that culture to gather together following the death of a loved one and celebrate the departing of their loved ones and his/her entering into the eternal realm with drink and gaiety in the tradition of an Irish wake.
As emotionally painful as the mourning process may be, an attitude of celebration is precisely the response that all Christians should have when another believer is called Home.
The Bible (Eccl. 7: 1 NIV) tells us that “...the day of [our] death [is] better than the day of [our] birth and that the death of a believer is a “precious (Psalms 116: 15 NIV)” moment in the eyes of God.
Unlike those departing on an Earthly voyage whose safe arrival and circumstances are yet to be seen, the spiritual departure and safe arrival of those who were “born again (John 3: 3 NIV)” in the course of their lifetime is guaranteed.
If this is truly our belief, as it should be, there is no need to wish or pray for a bon voyage for those who have departed, but rather a cause to celebrate the fact that this has already taken place.
Having the divine perspective about death is a testimony of our own faith and a demonstration of the spiritual maturity it takes to honor the will and sovereignty of the One we claim to live for.
The timing and circumstances of one’s birth and death is within the domain of God’s sovereignty. No one, living in His plan, dies any sooner or lives any longer than what He determines.
It may have nothing to do with one’s health, wealth, or age. Accepting the timing and circumstances of our own death or the death of others is a matter of acknowledging His will and His sovereignty.
One of the responses to the passing of a loved one is natural concern of what impact his/her passing will have on those left behind. God assures both the believer who is dying and those who are left behind that “The Lord... …sustains the fatherless and the widow…(Psalms 146:9 NIV).”
Imagine for a moment that you received a telegram today informing you that someone you loved dearly had gone away on an unannounced trip to a place of total peace and enjoyment and that the Proprietor is preparing a future room for you as well. Would you be happy for that person or selfishly wish that he/she would return here to a life of trial and tribulation?
What if that place were Heaven?
Your ticket for your own Bon Voyage has been paid in full. If you have received it, you may also invite others to make the same voyage with the same assurance of safe passage.
Between now and the scheduled time of your own departure, you have the opportunity to prepare for the trip in order to make it the best possible experience when you meet the Lord face to face and are then reunited with all those who have gone on before you and with all those who will follow at their appointed time.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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