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Topic: Reward (09/27/04)
TITLE: Absent From The Body…Present With The Lord!
By Lucian Thompson
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I can still see the look on her face. She was at peace and never looked more beautiful. It had been a year since we got the word that she had terminal lung cancer. That year was the hardest year I have ever endured. It was a living nightmare!
No matter how strong your faith is, when you face the loss of a loved one, you will die a little yourself. The process of transcending from this life into eternal life is difficult for those who are left behind to carry on without their loved one. God understands and He will give you the strength to persevere. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:8, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." This scripture, more than any other, gave me the courage to face my wife’s entering into her reward with Jesus.
Kathy had the peace to endure during that year, because she knew her Redeemer lived and she believed, with all her heart, that God was true to His word. She set her affairs in order, leaving nothing undone for me to deal with when she went home. We talked many times about Heaven and what it would be like. The last few days she would often look off in the distance with such a sweet expression on her face. I truly believe God was showing her the things that awaited her in Heaven.
We spend our entire Christian life looking for our reward with Jesus and when God opens the doors of Heaven and calls us to come home, we often fall apart. It isn’t the dying, it’s more often the uncertainty of the unknown, the things we haven’t been able to see. Here is where true faith comes in. Hbr 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
At 10:20 a.m. that morning, my wife received the reward she gained from her personal relationship with Jesus. All her family was with her as she took her last, sweet breath, and joined her Savior in eternal rest. There she will wait for the resurrection when the dead in Christ will rise first and those who are alive and remain will be caught up to be with the Lord forever.
The void she left in my life was unbearable. After a while, I cried out to God to take me home or take my grief! I couldn’t bear to live without someone to comfort me and share in my ministry. God heard my cry!
Shortly after I begged of God, He sent Trish into my life. It was more than an answer to prayer; it was a miracle. How we met, the instant love for one another, and the awesome reality that God had ordained our relationship, is true testimony that He still works miracles. God had not forgotten me in my sorrows.
There is no marrying or giving in marriage in Heaven, though we will all be married to Christ. He will be our joy and we will share equally in that joy. Our love for one another will be far greater in Heaven. There will be no envy or jealousy there. We will not lack for affection or desires for He will be all things to us. We will be complete in Him!
Death of the body is not to be feared when we are in Christ Jesus. The hurt and pain of our loss for those who go before us will always be there, but God can give us peace if we trust Him with our sorrow. Yes, trust Him with our loved one knowing they have received their reward and that we will see them again and be complete with them, and Jesus, who died for us that we may have eternal life.
Trish cried with me as I wrote this article. She held me and comforted me. How can I ask for anything more?
To God be the glory!