Here Or There?

“How lovely are Your dwelling places, Lord of armies! My soul longed and even yearned for the courtyards of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God…Blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You.”
Psalm 84:1-2 (NASB)

“And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.’”
Revelation 14:13 (NASB)

One of my most wonderful friends was ill for many months. He never uttered a word of complaint to me during his very long time of confinement. For selfish reasons I wanted him to get better so I could enjoy his presence longer. But the Lord wanted him to come to his eternal home, so a few days ago he entered his eternal rest (Hebrews 4:10).

So, I have once again bid goodbye to a dear child of God, knowing that we shall resume our friendship when it is my turn to enter my Father’s house. That fact helps keep my emotions in check knowing that while I weep for a night, joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Knowing our great hope of heaven at death, why do we fear going to heaven as though death will bring us endless torment? Why do we think it wonderful when a believer is “spared” dying? When we shed tears at the grave of a believer, surely we are not weeping because the Christian would have been better off staying with us. Do we grieve for their great loss at going to heaven? Do we think this world is heaven and heaven is hell? What nonsense!

The real reason for weeping at the death of a loved one must be that we are left behind. Nothing else makes sense. Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35). His grief surely included the fact He was reaching into His Father’s home to take Lazarus from the joys of heaven back to this sin cursed earth only to suffer and die once more.

We need to be eager to go home just as Paul was. He was greatly conflicted as he knew his presence on earth blessed the Gospel ministry and he loved bringing sinners to Jesus and encouraging believers. Yet he longed to go home to be with the One he served with such zeal. So, here we build up the community of faith, and there we fellowship with the saints of the ages. Where do you truly want to be? Here or there?

I shall sleep sound in Jesus,
Fill’d with His likeness rise,
To live and to adore Him,
To see Him with these eyes:
‘Tween me and resurrection
But Paradise doth stand;
Then—then for glory dwelling
In Immanuel’s land!

- A. Cousins

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