Written by Aaron Fullan
Does the reality of death ever just hit you like a ton of bricks? For me, it sure does. Just when you think you’re old enough be “comfortable” with it and accept it as a normal part of life...
...the Lord reminds us that it is something that we should never be comfortable with and accept as normal. It’s not normal. In fact, it’s a very real scarring of the “normal” our loving God intended for us.
Death is the direct result of our sin. Romans 5:12 states, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…”
And thus, when we understand the very root of death’s existence, the darker and bleaker the picture becomes. Death is an unknown door that all people have to go through (save for good ol’ Elijah and Enoch); it is the door between the carnal and the spiritual, between the temporary and the eternal, between the known and the unknown.
And yet, despite the fear and dread of our imminent demise, the “after effects” of it are something we as Christians can (and should!) look forward to. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, says he would “rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” In other words, if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and accept His free, no-strings-attached gift of salvation, longing for our post-death existence is perfectly normal.
After all, our current state is fraught with all sorts of unpleasantries, pain, broken relationships, the list goes on. Why would we long for this life to go on and on and on? The older I get, the more I realize how desperate the plight of all mankind really is…the reality of sin and the effect it has on mankind becomes painfully obvious.
But guess what? I have a Savior in heaven who is preparing a place for me; a place whose glory will outshine any mansion or real estate this world has to offer, and yet…will pale, wax, and wane in comparison to the glory of being in His presence.
So is it wrong to long for what is to come? Not at all. For what is to come is the fruition of God’s original intent for the creation of His image-bearers: a perfect, eternal, personal, close-enough-to-touch relationship with Him. Frankly? I can’t wait. And the more I’m aware of my own sin, the harder the wait becomes.
This past week, I was introduced to a wonderful and unforgettable poem by Horatius Bonar entitled "How Long.” - - a poem that teaches us a beautiful way to long for the glorious eternity to come.
"My God, it is not fretfulness
That makes me say ""How long?""
It is not heaviness of heart
That hinders me in song,
'Tis not despair of truth and right,
Nor coward dread of wrong."
"But how can I, with such a hope
Of glory and of home;
With such a joy before my eyes,
Not wish the time were come
Of years the jubilee, of days
The Sabbath and the sum?"
"These years, what ages they have been!
This life, how long it seems!
And how can I in evil days,
'Mid unknown hills and streams
But sigh for those of home and heart
And visit them in dreams?"
"Yet peace, my heart and hush my tongue;
Be calm, my troubled breast;
Each restless hour is hastening on
The everlasting rest.
Thou knowest that the time thy God
Appoints for thee is best."
"Let faith, not fear nor fretfulness,
Awake the cry, ""How long?""
Let not faintheartedness of soul
Damp thy aspiring song,
Right comes, truth dawns, the night departs
Of error and of wrong."
Take heart, brothers and sisters: our hope lies beyond our present circumstances.
As Mr. Whitaker from Adventures in Odyssey always said…
“The best is yet to come.”
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