“And I heard a voice from Heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.” (Revelation 14.13) Remember this. It is never easy to deal with losing someone we love. As the holiday season gets going, we will sit at tables that are no longer occupied by pillars of our families. There will be stories not told, laughs not bellowed, and hugs not exchanged that will encourage a few tears to fall. But for those who have died in faithful service to their God we are assured, they are better off than we. Better off indeed.
God is faithful to remind us that He has not forgotten anyone. He knows the names of all of His saints and how many hairs are on their heads. While we obviously miss their presence here, we must remember they are in paradise.
In Matthew 22 Jesus is asked about the resurrection by a group that doesn’t believe in resurrection. Part of His response to them is that God has said, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” and that “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living”. (32) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died so many hundreds of years before this that even their bones would be dust! -yet God says they live.
It is so hard for us to remember, to focus, to look beyond this life. Perhaps that is why God reminds us of the good things to come. When he finished this life, Lazarus was spirited away by the angels to be at Abraham’s side. Abraham tells a poor dead sinner Lazarus is now receiving comforts this life never provided.
In particular, I know of a pair of overalls I will continue to miss seeing this season. I must remember that they have been exchanged for beautiful robes- so white. And while he may not be sitting at an earthly table with his family, he is waiting for us to join him at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Our loved ones who have gone on before, that have died in the Lord, have finished this walk, and now they may rest from the journey. “And I know there are joys that await me, when I’ve gone the last mile of the way”. Blessed are the dead who have died in the Lord. They await our presence when our labors are over. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.