This articles was written in memory of three Mississippi College students who died as a result of a car accident on Friday, September 17th, 2004. We can cry with hope…
When tragedy enters our lives as Christians, we ask God, “Why?” Sometimes we are content with the answer if people come to salvation as a result of our loss, but many times heaven seems to be silent. It is at this point that we must seek the written Word of God, for in it, our Lord has given us answers and comfort and hope.
Psalm 116:15 tells us that the death of God’s children is precious to Him. How can this be? This seems sadistic and heartless. To understand, we must look at the death of believers from the Father’s perspective. He created each of us and gave us a limited time on earth to glorify Him and to seek to know Him before going home to meet Him, if we are His. Thus the societally trivial phrase, “went home,” is not a euphemism to us in Christ. Going home is our goal, the final achievement in this life. When believers die, it is precious to the Lord because He is able to welcome them into the eternal kingdom and to reward them for the treasures they stored up while physically alive. Remember, though we may see a dead body, this is just a shell that will one day be resurrected. The believer’s spirit is very much alive with our God and Savior.
Lest we doubt the compassion of our God, let us look to the life of our Lord while on this earth. Keep in mind that Christ knew (and knows) the future and was confident in the resurrection of the dead, for He is the Resurrection and the Life. In John 11:34-36, we read of Jesus approaching the tomb of Lazarus who had died four days prior. In a few more minutes, Jesus would raise him back to life, but in verse 35, we see the love of our wonderful Savior. “Jesus wept.” Scholars may interpret this with a deeper explanation, but let us read what the Word says and let scripture interpret itself. Those present with Jesus at that moment understood that He wept because He loved Lazarus and mourned that His friend was no longer with Him. Rejoicing would soon follow when Christ raised him from the dead, but in this verse, we see the love and care of God.
Lastly, we have hope. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be death; there shall no longer be mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4). We shall be united with our brothers and sisters in Christ before the throne of God, singing praises to Him forever. Our friends are not lost when they go before us. Just as some are born into this life before others, so some are born earlier into eternal life with the Father. “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumberance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” (Hebrews 12:1).
we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no / And we can grieve with
hope / ’cause we believe with hope / there’s a place, by God’s grace /
there’s a place where we’ll see your face again
With Hope, Steven Curtis Chapman