(Thanks to our friend and brother Wayne B. for inspiration on this one. And, dedicated to Peggy and her family)
The Apostle Paul declared that our earthly departure to be in the direct Heavenly presence of the Lord Jesus Christ will not merely lead us into a better existence.
"To depart, and to be with Christ... is far better" (Philippians 1:23).
"Far." A tiny word, but in it lies the most glorious of promises - far better. Salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, while providing abundant provision for our walk with God today, nevertheless promises infinitely greater glories in our eternal tomorrows. Indeed, would any believer already in Heaven tell us they wish they could have stayed on the earth for just a bit longer? Not a chance! One twinkling moment after our passing from this life into the next, we will experience the greatest relief we've ever known. Indeed, whatever measure of peace we have received in Christ during our earthly sojourn will pale in comparison to the experience known when the Prince of peace journeys with us through the valley of the shadow of death. While certainly we do nothing to hasten our earthly passing, and we do all to presently know God as well as possible, we must nevertheless realize and affirm that Paul proclaimed blessed truth in his triumphant exultation, "To die is gain!" (Philippians 1:21).
A good friend recently responded to the physical death of one for whom many believers prayed regarding healing. "Oh," said Wayne, "you mean he was really healed!" Or, we might say, that those who passed through the valley of the shadow are Heavenly healed. Three letters: f-a-r. In them lies the blessed promise of entrance into the eternal glory of Heaven with the Lord Jesus. Thus, anything that might in our minds seem to bind us to the present life must be viewed in the light of "better to be with Christ", or, far better. Anything. Everything. All things. Yes, one twinkling moment with our blessed Lord will convince us of that. Thus, we do not fear death as God's trusting sons and daughters united to the Prince of life. We rather see our earthly departure as hope, hope for passage from darkness, pain, and sorrow. But even more, we see death as hope for passage into the sublime glory of "to be with Christ"…
"We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."
(II Corinthians 5:8)
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
Weekly Memory Verse
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.