“Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. (Acts 20:25, 32 and 36, NIV 1984).
My Musings – I have set by my wife’s side, her holding our nine-year old son Joshua, me holding his hand and caressing his face, as he breathed his last. Gone too soon. I have received the call that my eighteen-year old nephew had died in a motorcycle accident and was asked to break the news to my mom and dad, that they had lost another grandson. I stood with my mom and the rest of my family at my dad’s bedside, when his eighty-four year old heart just simply wore out.
If we live long enough, we will all experience the loss of a loved one. And we will be “grieved– that [we will] never see [their] face again.” Except in faded photographs and memories? A pity, if that is all there would be. For, “if only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:18–19, NIV 1984).
Covered now with lines and creases
A heart that’s torn in half
Memories in bits and pieces
Traces of love long ago
And tears we all must fight
As traces of love fade from our sight
I close my eyes and say a prayer
That in my heart I’ll find
A trace of their love still there
Somewhere, oh, oh
Traces of hope in the night
That memories of love come back and dry
These traces of tears from my eyes.
Traces (by the Classics IV-adapted)
But traces need not be all there will be. For, “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the first-fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.” (1 Corinthians 15:20–23, NIV 1984).
My Advice – Just as we all will grieve over the loss of a loved one, someday (if the LORD tarries) a loved one will grieve over the loss of us. What better gift to give them than to know that “faded photographs” are not all that are left. The assurance that they will see your face again. But only if you “belong to Him.” And only if they too “belong to Him.”
When an aircraft loses cabin pressure, passengers are urged to take their oxygen mask first, then attend to their traveling companions. Because they cannot help their companions, if they do not first take care of themselves. Worried about your loved ones? Make sure you “belong to Him.” Only then can you help your loved ones to “belong to Him” too.
“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace.” (Acts 20:32, NIV 1984).