Recently I preached at a graveside service of my wife’s sister, Laura, and I was encouraged to share the message with others.
On April 23, 2021, Friday night, at 11:59 pm, in room 12, in the ICU unit at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, TN. What Happened? The answer is only found in the Bible, which is God in a book. Only the Bible tells us of eternity, the hereafter, and what happens at death. So what do the Scriptures say? There are three times in the Bible that clearly tell what happens at death. Note: These Scriptures are written for those which have hope in Christ (1 Thess. 4:13). What Happened? Before death Paul stated, “The time of my departure is at hand (near)” (2 Tim. 4:6). Well, you cannot have a departurewithout an arrival. Paul also said, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown” (2 Tim. 4:8).What Happened? He had a departureand an arrival. At 11:59 pm, Laura departedthis life. As the stroke of midnight began – bong – bong – Laura arrivedin Heaven. She was here, but she is now there. We say, “She is gone.” But in Heaven they say, “Here she comes. She has arrived.”
What Happened? “To be absentfrom the body (11:59), and to be present(midnight) with the Lord.” What Happened? At 11:59 the roll call was made in Heaven. At midnight, in Heaven, she said, “here.” She is absent here, but present there.
What will Happen? We are now at a graveside service. Here is her casket that holds her body. Her body ceased but she still exists. What will happen to her body? Scriptures have the answer: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive (in Christ) and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4:16-18). There are only two groups of people: Those in Christ and Those without Christ. Are you in Christ? Only those “In Christ” will be caught up to be with the Lord. What will Happen to them? One day the body of Laura will be caught up “together” with them(those who are alive in Christ) to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Laura has departed and arrived. She is absent here, but she is present there. At this time we are absent, but one day we will also arrive and be present, “Together – Forever.”
Scriptures are from a God that cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Scriptures inform us of God, Heaven, Hell and eternity. Scriptures give hope with sure expectations. Scriptures are our only assurance, authority, and absolute. This is “What Happened and What Will Happen.” So what do we do now?
“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Please fee free to share with others – TC