Coping with death, and looking forward

Feb. 23, 2018
By Dale Kovar

No doubt – when someone close to us dies, it hurts. A lot.

Much of it has to do with that realization that things have changed, a feeling of “we’ll never see them again.”

Though true in earthly terms, there’s more to it than that. Believers can expect to meet each other again in Heaven.

Jesus’ resurrection means that death is defeated.

Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ” and Hank Hanegraaff’s “Afterlife” go into great detail about how the crucifixion and resurrection have been proven as historically true events.

That is important because it verifies them as facts, not just wishful thinking. The resurrection shows Christ’s power over death.

Knowing that, we turn to God’s own words from the Bible for what we can expect:

1 Thessalonians 4:13 (ESV)

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (ESV)

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

2 Corinthians 5:1-4 (NLT)

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.

John 11:25-26 (ESV)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

1 Corinthians 15:51-55 (NLT)

But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!  It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.  For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

People sometimes say life is short. But depending on the circumstances, we may remain decades after a loved one has passed – what seems like a very long time – but again, in earthly terms.

At some point, we will receive our new heavenly bodies – free from every kind of pain – and begin eternity in the new heaven and new earth.

And how long is that?

The final verse of Amazing Grace reminds “when we’ve been there 10,000 years . . . we’ve no less days . . . than when we’d first begun.”

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