“That’s messed up if that’s all there is.”
Those were the words from the son-in-law of the woman whose funeral I conducted today. My mind immediately went to the Scripture that says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” (I Corinthians 15:19)
I’m convinced that this isn’t all there is. The young man was right. If this is all there is, that’s messed up. But God has had another plan for those who have given their lives to Him. It’s an Eternal place where we have a hope fulfilled. Here is what the Bible says about it:
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4
Actually, that doesn’t sound messed up. Instead, it gives me comfort for what is ahead. There are some who don’t have that same hope. It’s because they haven’t trusted that God is who He says He is. They don’t follow His commands. They don’t rejoice in His salvation. Therefore, there is no hope.
People grieve in different ways. The Bible tells us we can “weep with those who weep.” At the same time, we can “rejoice with those who rejoice.” (Romans 12:15) For the Christian, those two things, which seem to contradict one another, are important. Both are emotions of the heart. When God tells us we can weep, He’s indicating the purpose of a compassionate heart. To rejoice means we are excited about our loved ones place in Eternity. The Apostle Paul says, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (II Corinthians 5:8)
The hope Christians have for what happens beyond this life is magnificent! We will never have to ask, “Is this the only life we have to to look forward to?”
I don’t know everyone’s relationship with God. But sometimes I think I might. Other than some who have told me to my face that they are atheists and others who tell me they are Believers, I can’t tell who trusts that there is an Eternal Creator and Savior.
The Apostle Paul tries to show the Christians in Thessalonica that there is a different kind of understanding when people die. He assures them that the grief from Christians can be united with hope for those faithful who have gone before them.
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.” I Thessalonians 4:13
Yes, there is a grand Eternity in the presence of God for believers. If we rest on only this life without hope for another one with God, “that’s messed up.”