Rob Williams writes about attending the funeral of the daughter of a co-worker (Rob posted the web site of the co-worker. Right now, I am struggling with whether the link should be reproduced here or not. Initially, I put it in, but now I am pulling it out.) First of all, I'd like to offer my condolances to the family, even though I do not know them. I pray that God comforts the family and gives them "the peace that transcends understanding" (Philippians 4:7).

Rob's post struck me with the candor that it was written. Then there was the comment that Rob's Uncle, Bill, left. Bill's comment summed it up wonderfully: "Your faith and your head says one thing and your heart says another." Having now served as the minister at 4 funerals, 3 of whom were members of my church, Bill's comment hits the nail on the head. There's a sadness that you won't see this person for a while, and that you will miss them. However, there's a joy knowing the person's destination.

Which brings me to something we've been discussing in church recently. The question of "Where do you go when you die?". For a Christian, the destination is in heaven with Jesus Christ because of his sacrifice for us on the cross. For the non-Christian, the unfortunate destination is eternal separation from God in hell, a place described by Jesus as "where the fire is not quenched" and "the worm does not die". However, this wasn't the thrust of the discussion. The thrust of the discussion is does the Christian go straight to heaven when they die or do they wait for Jesus until he returns. I Thessalonians 4:13-18 describes death as "sleep" and says that the "dead in Christ will rise first" which indicates to me that there is a sleep-like waiting period for dead Christians until Christ returns. However, there are those who interpret some passages from the Gospels (Luke 23:43) and statements from Paul's letters (Philippians 1:23, II Corinthians 5:6-8) that our passage to heaven is immediate following our death. Personally, I think we will wait for the Lord until he returns, but I don't claim to know for sure. The one thing I know for sure, is that as a Christian, because of Jesus' death on the cross, I will live in heaven with Him one day.

At the funeral, they passed out cards that contained "Eight Things Nicole Knew About Life" (Nicole is the name of the young lady that passed away). Nicole died in an automobile accident. She was not wearing her seat belt, and she was thrown from the vehicle. One of the truths Nicole knew was "Life is a gift to be cherished." Life is a gift. God gives life to us. Apart from Him, nothing is possible, including our next breath. Seeing life as a gift and something to be cherished, I would ask that the next time you are in an automobile, you would fasten your safety belt. Nicole was thrown from her car. If she had been wearing her seat belt, she would have remained in her car and likely survived the accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Safety belts saved over 12,000 American lives in 2001. However, during this same year, nearly two-thirds (60 percent) of passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes were unrestrained." So please, for the sake of your family, treat your life as a gift to be cherished and wear your safety belt when in an automobile.

Tags: , , ,