A Friend's Death
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him
(1 Corinthians 2:9
As I stood at the graveside of a friend who had battled cancer for several years, my mind raced back to preceding events, and how in His sovereignty God had used them.
It was that very cancer that had resulted in her receiving Christ, along with all of her family.
As I had previously met and prayed with her and her husband, their attitude was not critical, or unhappy, or as though they had been discriminated against, or "Why is God doing this to us?"
Instead, their attitude was, "We're grateful for this cancer because it helped all of us as a family to receive Christ and, in the process, receive not only new life for this world, but eternal life in heaven
Also at the gravesite, a thought occurred to me for the first time in my life. I remembered that heaven is described as a place of such great beauty, where eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9
). Then I thought about other passages about heaven, its beauty and magnificence.
It suddenly occurred to me that the most beautiful, and exciting, and wonderful moments of my friend's life was her last breath, and the next second following her last breath.
That moment was more important than her birth, more important than her marriage
, more important that the birth of her children, and more important than all the honors and successes of her life.
The most important moments of her existence were her death and the split-second following her death. The Scriptures say to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. So, at that very moment, she was instantly in the presence of our great, incomparable, Creator God and fearless Savior, who died for her.
My departed friend, now with the Lord Jesus, had learned the greatest lesson in all the universe. That is, no matter what tragedies or heartaches may come our way, nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39
). He is constantly reaching out to help us, to encourage us, and to bless us.
This realization further motivated me to tell everyone who would listen about Christ.
From this day on, may all of us take advantage of every opportunity to encourage others to also receive God's great love and forgiveness in Christ.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.