Remembering Loved Ones Who Have Died
This is Memorial Day. A day whose primary focus is to remember the men and women who have died in the United States Armed Forces. The day has taken on additionally those who have died in the performance of their duties as first responders, fire and police. And as a day to remember our loved ones.
It is a good thing to take time to remember, to be thankful, to honor. Lincoln reflected in the Gettysburg Address a sense of grief and purpose and honor for those who died there.
“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
These Dead Shall Not Have Died in Vain
Lincoln’s powerful words strike deep into the heart of those who care about those who have died. To have died in vain is to have died for nothing. Truly sad. To have one’s life ended for a noble purpose is a better end. But what of those who died? What is their future? Many think this existence is the full measure of the human and once life leaves the body there is nothing. Life leads to nothingness in the end.
Death is Not a Dead End Street
At the moment the soul departs the body the realization of something more rapidly reveals itself. The person with all clarity knows what preceded was quite limited. Death is not a dead end street, but a thoroughfare to so much more. Life continues. Memories are not lost. Senses are not abandoned, but increased. The limitations of the human body and physical dimension are removed.
Regarding Death as Those Who Don’t Know God
God made possible life in Jesus. Jesus died that people who believe in Him could live. And those who believe in Jesus pass from this life into His presence and are freed to live life to the fullest measure. Even knowing this should bring delight to a person’s heart when thinking of a loved one who has died in the Lord. But many act as though there is no hope. Have you noticed? Paul, the apostle, addresses that:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 (NLT)
Grieving like people who have no hope is not necessary for the one who trusts in God. There is a wonderful future and life for those with the Lord. Sadness at the loss of the presence of someone we love is, of course, appropriate. To grieve in that way is to grieve properly. To grieve with hope and trust in God is not the way of this world, but it is for us.
Life Beyond Death Begins Now
For those who have turned to Jesus and have embraced Him and His ways a new life has already started. Death is only a portal to more life. Christians live a multidimensional life. Take a look at this from the book of Hebrews:
No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. Hebrews 12:22-23 (NLT)
Those who have gone to heaven are made right and whatever was flawed is corrected because God is at work. The angels are rejoicing. God will deal with the issues in our lives and in our world as judge over all things, but there is life going on in heaven. There is lots more living to do.
Death is not a dead end street. Remember those who have died and remember the one who died that all who come to Him may live.