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Friday, October 26, 2007

The Ultimate Appointment

Life delivers bundles of sadness along with heaps of joy. The other day, Gloria’s oldest brother called to say his middle daughter had died. Our niece Jill had battled breast cancer courageously for a long time. She was only 46. Ironically, her mother had breast cancer, which had claimed her mother’s life when she was 46.
The same day, a member of a church I had pastored in Williamson, New York, until 1964 called to tell me another member of the church had died during the night. He remarked, “She went to bed, fell asleep, and woke up in heaven.” She was in her 80s.
Death is no respecter of persons. Soon the old must die, and at any time the young may die. Hebrews 9:27 insists everyone must keep an appointment with death. But Christians need not fear death. For the Christian, death issues a passport to an unending life in heaven. Death ushers the Christian immediately into the presence of the risen Savior (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:21–23). It is a graduation; a change of address; a triumph, not a tragedy; a gain, not a loss.
Jesus died, rose again, and ascended to heaven, and sat down at the Father’s right hand—the place of uncontested authority. Now, He is preparing a place for us. Christians who have passed through the veil of death are enjoying indescribable surroundings and boundless vibrant life with Christ.
Yes, it is hard to part with loved ones and friends, but someday they will welcome us to heaven. They may even given us a grand tour of that beautiful, peaceful place. In the meantime, when thoughts of dying confront us, we can exclaim with the apostle Paul, “’Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ . . . But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55–57).

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