September 18, 2023 · Bob Gass
“To be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 NKJV
Try as we might to avoid it, and as reluctant as we are to discuss it, each of us must release the hand of the one we love into the hand of the One who loves us most. But what happens when you die? What happens to you between your death and Christ’s return? Paul answered, “We don’t want you, my brothers, to be in any doubt about those who ‘fall asleep’ in death, or to grieve over them like men…who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 PHPS). Scripture is surprisingly quiet about what happens to us in the period between our death and the resurrection of our body. (It doesn’t give us enough information to satisfy our curiosity, just enough to whet our appetite.) Paul wrote, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:21-23 NIV). Bible scholar Anthony Hoekema said, “What Paul is saying here is that the moment he departs or dies, that very same moment he will be with Christ.” Ultimately, heaven is the greatest healing of all! Your loved ones had pain here but have no pain there. They struggled here but have no struggles there. You may wonder why God took them home, but they don’t. Now they understand. They are, at this very moment, at peace in God’s presence.
Bible in a year: Ezra 1-3