We spent the weekend celebrating the life of my father-in-law John Howard. Born May 27, 1927, he passed from this earthly shadow life into the reality of eternity on Tuesday, March 1, 2016. (See obituary.)
Four generations of our family gathered to remember and say goodbye. Yet even while we grieved our loss, we rejoiced because of what Pappaw had gained.
The death of a Christian brings an odd mix of emotions. Grief because our loved one is no longer here with us, but joy because he is now in the presence of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:8). When a child of God dies, he fully realizes the promises of God. The hope of life eternal.
My father-in-law suffered for years with a frail, ailing body. He groaned with the burden of it and looked forward to the day when he would receive his new, heavenly body. He has been freed from that burden and now enjoys the perfect, whole body God prepared for him.
The apostle Paul wrote about this great promise for believers:
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 2 Corinthians 5:1-9, NIV
We grieve and we rejoice. We will miss him, yet we are thankful for the legacy of faith he left our family. His hope was in Christ and that hope is sure.
Do you have the hope of eternal life through a saving relationship with Jesus? If not, or you aren’t sure, find out more about what it means to have a relationship with Him.