Death is just a doorway between life and Life

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that God is good. I mean, you know He’s good in that distant disconnected way like the elected official is good or the popular spiritual leader is good or the hero you admire is good. He’s good, but He doesn’t really get you. There’s a big difference between knowing that God is good and truly understanding His goodness.

There’s so much sorrow in the world. There’s so much hurt. People hurt each other physically and emotionally. We say things to each other intended to cut and demean. Some are the brunt of general meanness. Others are not even involved in the evil that’s happening, and they still get hurt. And even in the innocent passing of time, we lose people we love. Sometimes we expect it, due to sickness or age. Other times we don’t. Either way, it still hurts.

And that’s the world we live in. That’s life here. Sure, there are joyful moments. But then “real life” rears its ugly head and reminds us that life isn’t going to get better down here.

If that’s our future, if that’s all there is, why do people keep living? I couldn’t do it if I didn’t have the hope of salvation, the peace of knowing that God really is going to work everything out. Because the truth is that God really is good–and not just in some distant, disconnected way. He’s here, in our lives, seeing what we feel and hurting with us when we hit those dark times of sorrow and sadness. And there’s something really important that we need to remember about this crazy, screwed-up, hot mess of a world we live in: It’s not all there is.

doorwayToday’s verse is John 16:33.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

Jesus wanted His followers to understand that even though the world was broken, they could still have peace with God through Him. He’s the one who made the way to be saved. He’s the one who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we would have the power to overcome the world.

Do you know what that means? To overcome the world? It sounds awfully dramatic, and maybe it is. But in a practical sense it means that the world has no power over those who believe in Christ. The world can be identified as a lot of different things. The influences that pressure you to disobey God. The powers of the enemy. Just the brokenness around us that threatens us with a hopeless, meaningless existence. However you define it, the world is powerless against a Christ-follower.

Even death itself has no power over a Christ-follower. We don’t have to fear it. We don’t have to run from it. We don’t even have to hate it. Because of what Jesus did for us, death is just a doorway between this life on Earth and our eternal welcome in Heaven with God.

It’s important to know that we will have trials and sorrows. Multiple trials and sorrows. And it’s important to know that it’s okay to mourn. It’s okay to grieve the loss of people you love, the destruction of relationships and families, the consequences people have to face for the choices they’ve made. When you’re sad, you need to grieve. Don’t bottle it up and put on a cheery face to make people feel better. Be sad, but know that you don’t have to stay sad.

The world is still under the control of death, the control of the enemy, the result of our sin. As long as that brokenness endures, we will live with pain and death and sadness. Oh, but we don’t have to stay here. There’s a day coming when we’ll get to go home, where nobody hurts each other, where nobody dies, and where we’ll never have to say goodbye again.

The world is full of death and sadness, but Jesus is stronger than the world. He overcame it. And because He overcame, we can too.

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The road that runs beside Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

No such thing as goodbye

I don’t like goodbyes, but it feels like I’ve been saying them for most of my life. Not because of death, though. Because of life. I have so many friends who have chosen to become missionaries in foreign countries, and I’m so excited and proud of all of them. But staying behind while they go is sometimes very sad.

I’m not sad that I don’t get to go to the mission’s field, though. I know I’m not called there. Some people are called to stay behind, and that’s always been me. What makes me sad is missing my friends, their faces, their laughter, getting to be actively involved in their lives. What’s really awesome is technology has made the world so small. With a computer I can carry in my pocket, I can have face-to-face conversations with people across the Atlantic Ocean. That’s a luxury missionaries didn’t have even ten years ago. Now it’s practically free.

But Skype or Google Hangout isn’t the same as being in the room, and even though I do plan to go see my friends, there is a good chance it won’t work. They’re all scattered everywhere, on nearly every continent (not Antarctica, though I’d still love to visit just to say I’ve been there). And flights can be hard to get, and in spite of my best intentions, I may not be able to make it happen. So there’s always a good chance that when I see my friend before he/she leaves the states, that’s the last time I’ll see them.

Depressing? I know. Keep reading.

The road that runs beside Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

The road that runs beside Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Isaiah 35:10.

Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return.
They will enter Jerusalem singing,
crowned with everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

There are many perks to being a follower of Christ, but the best one is the fact that we never really have to say goodbye. Maybe in this world we might never cross paths again, but in the next world, we’ll be together. And not just for a day. Forever.

We can’t really wrap our minds around the concept of forever now. Eternity is too big a concept for our puny little human brains. But our perfect home forever will be a place of joy and light and family and friends and Christ. So saying goodbye down here really isn’t goodbye. At least, it shouldn’t be. Granted, you may get to see a friend again, but then you might not. But as long as you both believe in Christ, there’s no such thing as goodbye–not really.

It’s easy to get caught up in this life. It’s easy to think this is the life that’s worth living for, but it’s not. As awesome as our life down here can be, the life to come is better, and that should be our focus. And that’s exciting because the life to come is so much better than this one.

So the next time you have to say goodbye, remember. If you’re parting ways with someone who loves Christ, you don’t have to say goodbye. There are no real goodbyes. You’re just going to travel separate roads for now, but both of those roads lead home.