Death is a hard thing. Whether it comes in old age or suddenly through accident or illness; after a long life, or just when life seems so full of promise. We are never ready. Not really.

We’ve lost two dear saints lately—one after a long battle with cancer, and the other rather suddenly, after what she thought was a bout with the flu. If any could be described as shining stars in the heavens for Christ, these two could. We miss them already, and will for years to come. I’m sure the churches will be packed with those who want to remember Sue Turney and Deb Zwald, and say goodbye.

For those of us who know the Lord, it won’t be a final goodbye. We will see them again, as well as all believers who have gone before us, in heaven. All those who have loved and served God will be there, and best of all—with Jesus our Savior.

And we won’t be sprouting wings, sitting on clouds, or strumming harps. Doesn’t that sound boring? No, we’ll be enjoying the wonders of heaven—more beautiful than anything we can imagine, full of music and worship. We will finally be free of all the effects of sin (sadness, pain, hatred, dissension, lies). And we will be busy doing amazing things Jesus only hinted at while He was here on earth.

We were made for eternity, but because this world is all we know, we cannot fathom what Jesus has promised us. I only know I have peace about death when it’s my time, and look forward to seeing all four of my grandparents, friends who’ve gone before me, and meeting believers from all nations of the world. Our reunion in heaven is going to be a party beyond anything we can imagine! And we’ll never have to say goodbye. Ever. Again.

Here is what we know from scripture:

Believers only remain on earth until we fulfill our purpose here

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; (Phil. 1:21-23, NIV)

So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. (2 Cor. 5:6-10, NLT)

Believers who have died will physically join Christ to meet those who are still alive at the Rapture

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thess. 4:13-18, NIV)

Because of Christ, death does not win!

54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Cor. 15:54-58, NIV)

It is better to hope in God who is eternal, than to lean too heavily on people

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. Ps. 118:8 (NIV)

“Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isa. 40:7-8, NIV)

For those of us who have made the choice to follow Jesus, we do grieve when death comes, but we grieve with hope—the hope of seeing our loved ones again.

This is what Matthew West sings about in, “Save a Place for Me.”