I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).
It was approximately 11 p.m., the evening before Easter in 1982, that I received word that my father had gone to be with the Lord.
Because of his serious illness, the news was not unexpected, but at the same time it was a cause for great sadness. I suddenly had the grievous feeling that accompanies the death of any loved one -- the feeling that I would never see my father again in this world. With that realization came a flood of tears.
I fell to my knees to praise, worship and give thanks to the Lord, who is sovereign above all. "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints" (Psalm 116:15, KJV). The New Living Translation says, "The LORD's loved ones are precious to him; it grieves him when they die," which tells me that the Lord was grieving with me. Even though the Lord knew my father was better off with Him in glory, God compassionately identifies with us in all our trials.
The body, which had encased my father for 93 years, had now been discarded like a worn out suit of clothes. With my praise to God came His gracious, supernatural peace and assurance that now my father was with the Lord forevermore, and one day I would see him again in his resurrection body.
During one of my visits to the cemetery to visit the graves of my mother and father, I gave thanks to our gracious Lord for their long, rich lives, especially for the 36 years which I had shared with my father after I had the privilege of introducing him to the Lord.
As I started to walk away I saw next to his resting place a very short grave. Apparently, according to the inscription on the stone, it was the grave of a baby that had been born and died the same day. Here almost side by side were buried the bodies of my 93-year-old father and a 1-day-old baby.
No one has a claim on life. No one knows how long he will live. The only thing that really matters in our lives is what we do for Christ. To this end we are to live holy lives, trust Him, love Him with all our hearts, minds and souls, and do His will.
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
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