Early this morning my dear father-in-law, Don Harling, passed into the arms of Jesus. I loved him dearly. He was so very precious to me. I am so very thankful he is pain-free even though I will miss him. Toward the end of his life, he experienced pain daily.
Personally, I wish the process of death was easier. We have the hope of heaven and seeing Jesus face to face, however, as the body deteriorates, there is groaning and grieving. This past week, as I was processing that thought with a friend, she reminded me that there is also groaning in the birthing process. As a woman goes into labor, the pain is intense. It’s traumatic for the infant as well, coming down through the birth canal. Yet, with the first breath of life, there is great rejoicing and the sorrow from the groaning is quickly forgotten.
So too, the death process is often accompanied by much pain. Yet, as our earthly body gives way and we catch the first breath of heaven, the groaning of death is forgotten. Scripture tells us there is great rejoicing in Heaven (Revelation 19:6-8).
The truth is, all of creation is groaning in anticipation of the New Heaven and New earth. The Apostle Paul wrote, “We know that the whole creation is groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:22-23). We are to wait with eager anticipation for the redemption of our bodies and our birth into heaven. When Jesus rules, there will be no more groaning or despair, no more weeping or sorrow, no more pain or illness. As I think about my father-in-law stepping across the threshold into the arms of Jesus, I can’t imagine the gratitude he must feel. Glory surrounds Him as he joins the many who have gone before.
As I’ve been thinking about all this, there are 3 lessons for you and me.
Death Is a Birthing Process. Though we miss our loved ones dearly, they are birthed into a new body. The old body passes away and there, they are given a new resurrected body (Philippians 3:21). It’s hard for us to understand this process. We see only in part. We can’t fully understand the joy of our loved ones’ experiences. Imagine receiving a new body that doesn’t get cancer or needs a hip replacement. A body that doesn’t grow so weak one can hardly stand. A body that doesn’t deteriorate or grow foggy. It’s hard to imagine but we trust it to be true because scripture says so.
Pain and Suffering Are Temporary. With Jesus, there is no more pain or suffering. No more horror, disappointment, or violence. Tears are wiped away and there is eternal joy! (Revelation 21:4) We will live on in eternal gratitude, rejoicing in the Lord. Imagine that. This week, here in America, it is Thanksgiving. We set aside this one day to give thanks. However, in heaven, we will live with an attitude of eternal gratitude. We will rejoice in all that Jesus has done.
Christ’s Return Is Eminent. Friend, we must live today like He might return tomorrow. We get caught up in all the details of this life and it’s easy to forget that He actually is returning. Heaven is for real. Savor each moment of this life. Live with a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving, but look with eager anticipation toward your eternal home. There we will be holy and blameless before Him (1 Thessalonians 3:13).
This week on The Connected Mom Podcast we’re talking about how to encourage gratitude in the heart of your child! Please download and follow on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify! And hey, would you leave a review? Those reviews help immensely!