By Becky Lyles
My 92-year-old father-in-law died Friday morning. He was a sweet, kind man who deeply loved the Lord, his wife and his family. Sunday morning, I cried through the music at church—not because I was overwhelmed by sadness, but because the songs provided words for my mix of sorrow and joy. Sorrow because Dad’s parting leaves a huge hole in our family. Joy because in an instant he escaped a bent, crippled body and stepped with brand-new feet into heaven’s sunshine and Jesus’ embrace. Certain phrases from the old hymn “Jesus I Come” were especially touching.
Out of my sickness, into thy health…Jesus I come;
Out of earth’s sorrows, into thy balm…Jesus I come;
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward forever on wings like a dove, Jesus I come;
Out of the fear and dread of the tomb, Jesus I come, Jesus I come;
Into the joy and light of thy home, Jesus I come to Thee.
My Bible study group just finished studying the book of 1st Thessalonians. The timing was great for me. Chapter four talks about what happens to those who’ve gone to their graves. “Brothers and sisters, we want you to be fully informed about those who have fallen asleep in death so that you will not be overwhelmed with grief like those who live outside of the true hope” (4:13 The Voice). Verses 9 and 10 in chapter 5 tell us “God has not destined us, His chosen ones, to face His wrath but to be the heirs of salvation through our Lord Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, who died for us. So regardless of whether we are awake (alive) or asleep (dead), we will live together with Him” (The Voice).
Wow, what a promise! We who are “heirs of salvation” have God’s comfort today and hope for eternity. Another old song comes to mind: This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through…