To Live Is Christ To Die is Gain

Yesterday my grandmother went to be with Jesus. Today she is celebrating Valentine’s Day with the two loves of her life, Jesus, her Lord and Savior, and my granddaddy. This day is full of mixed feelings, sorrow because I love her more than words can describe and cannot imagine living the rest of my life without her, and surprisingly, hope.
Hope because I have seen the mercy and grace of God this week. She had suffered for so long, mentally, physically and emotionally. She was ready to go to heaven, but could not understand why God was not ready to bring her home. Yet yesterday she got the desires of her heart. She was reunited with family and friends long gone and was instantly free of all the physical and mental ailments of this life. Today I know she is dancing and rejoicing in heaven in the presence of all those she holds dear. This brought so much hope because it reminds me there is an end. That God does really hear our cries and although not always in our time, He does remove our pain and suffering and replace it with joy unspeakable. Even those things which feel they will go on forever will have an end. There will be a day when those of us who have accepted Christ as Lord will never shed another tear and will have more joy than anyone can imagine. On that day we will be face to face with Jesus the lover of our soul and once again in the presence of all those we have loved and lost. I can only imagine how amazing that day will be.

Today heaven is more real to me than ever before. God’s grace and love are more real to me then I had ever imagined. Through her passing I have seen the mercy of God. While many long for the eradication of death, I believe as Paul, “to live is Christ, but to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21), because in the moment we leave this life, we begin our eternity in the presence of the giver of life who loves us so much more than we can even imagine. We leave all the pain, heartbreak and sorrow of this world behind us and go to a place where death, pain and tears are no more (Revelation 21:4).

Although we mourn the loss of her presence with us, we do not mourn as those that have no hope because as 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 tells us, we have hope in the resurrection. One day we will be reunited and the dead in Christ will be resurrected to new life. As Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us, there are times for all feelings in this life, so while this is a time to cry and mourn, there will be times of laughing and dancing to come, both in this life and after this world has passed us by. Although this is just the beginning of my mourning, I take hope in the knowledge that though weeping may last for a night, joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30).