For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.–Philippians 1:21
For more than half a century I’ve seen loved ones make their exit from earth into eternity. There have been good friends and best friends, patents and grand-parents, preachers and teachers, young and old, classmates and co-workers, neighbors and some I hardly even knew. I’ve seen some die of old age and some suddenly snatched away at a young age. I’ve seen people die of dreadful diseases that racked their body with pain for years and others who lost their life quickly in what we call an “accident”. I have wept many tears as a result of a loved one dying— but I’ve never felt a bit of sorrow for those who made their move from earth to heaven. How could I? For them the best has come!
However, I have been deeply grieved for those left behind. How can you not sorrow over a grieving mother whose child has been ripped out of her arms by death, or someone who is now separated from their spouse of many years, or a child who has lost a parent, or the parents who just received the news that their son was killed in combat? It is natural for us to grieve for those who have suffered the loss of those most precious to their soul. How could we not entertain such feelings? We are in a bad condition if we don’t.
Those who are wise view things from the proper perspective. They know that while death brings loss to some it brings gain to others. For some it spells pain, for others pleasure. We have no reason nor right to feel sorry for those who have left the poverty of earth to enter into their inheritance in heaven. They are freed from the bondage of the flesh, saved from suffering of every sort, delivered from every difficulty known to man, reunited with dear loved ones gone on before, and in the very presence of God Almighty. Their glorious experience is beyond anything we can imagine.
Feel sorry of them? No indeed! We are the ones to be pitied. But let’s not take that too far. If we know Christ as our Savior we need to focus on our blessings rather than our burdens. We, who don’t deserve anything, have everything in Christ. I’m not denying the difficulties of life–that would be foolish. We do have difficulties (Job 14:1), but even the pain of losing a loved one should be tempered with the knowledge that their parting brought them pleasure. A pleasure that we too shall have when our turn comes to leave this sinful old world. So, if we don’t enjoy life it’s our own fault. If God never did anything but save us we would have no reason to complain. Even death can be delightful.