“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”~ Philippians 1:21
I love these words from Charles Spurgeon:
“Yes, brethren, “To die is gain.” Take away, take away that hearse, remove that shroud; come, put white plumes upon the horses’ heads, and let gilded trappings hang around them. There, take away that fife, that shrill sounding music of the death march.
Lend me the trumpet and the drum. O hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah; why do we weep the saints to heaven; why need we lament? They are not dead, they are gone before. Stop, stop that mourning, refrain your tears, clap your hands, clap your hands.”
Celebration....not a death march...that is what we should prepare for when a Christian dies. I believe there should be inside each of us who also believe in Jesus...a sense of joy for the one who has left us.
Joy? Ok... I agree that joy sounds “out of place” in what most of us feel upon the death of a beloved family member or friend. In fact, just the opposite is what we spontaneously feel. Sorrow and grief are not an option we choose to respond to death with...we just uncontrollably feel it!
Yet...I believe for the Christian believer, feeling joy for their loved one who has died does not have to be considered an option either.
Even in my time of greatest sorrow and grief over Brad's death...I held inside my heart and soul a piece of sweet rejoicing for Brad (and a tinge of jealousy too), that he was in the presence of Jesus and home with God. How exciting for Brad that the Lord’s great love compelled Him to want Brad with Him...now!
“What! Weep for heads that are crowned with garlands of heaven? Weep for hands that grasp the harps of gold? What, weep for eyes that see the Redeemer? What, weep for hearts that are washed from sin, and are throbbing with eternal bliss? What, weep for men that are in the Saviour’s bosom?
Oh, weep not, but rejoice. “If you knew what it was that I have said unto you, and where I have gone, you would rejoice with a joy that no man should take from you.” “To die is gain.”
Although I still and always will miss Brad everyday...I would not want him to have one moment less in Heaven because of my wanting him here with me!
I love Brad more than I love our life here together...And that my friends...is the kind of love that only God can place inside our hearts.
I heard a voice out of Heaven, "Write this: Blessed are those who die in the Master from now on; how blessed to die that way!"
"Yes," says the Spirit, "and blessed rest from their hard, hard work. None of what they've done is wasted; God blesses them for it all in the end." ~Revelation 14:13 The Message
I am looking forward to the day with anticipated joy of being reunited with Brad in Heaven...walking hand in hand blissfully forever...never to say good-by again...with Jesus as the center of our everlasting joy!
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14