A few short years ago I stood in the rain by an open grave outside Belfast. My mother had died and we had come to bury her. She was to be buried in the same grave as my father and in a cemetery where several generations of my family had been laid to rest. As I stood there on that bitterly cold day many thoughts passed through my mind. I want to share some of them with you.
One thing we soon realize is that death is certain. We begin to die the minute we are born! Frail mortals have an allotted time on earth. We cannot cheat death! For the Christian, though, death is not the end. We know that if we die before Christ's return we will be resurrected and rise to meet him in the air. These mortal bodies will become glorious spirit bodies and we will reign with Christ throughout the millennium - and beyond.
Christians can look beyond the grave to the wonderful destiny that lies ahead. Our brief time here on earth with its trials and frustrations, its sadness and despair will fade to nothing in comparison to the abundant life that will be ours for all eternity as a member of God's Family. What a hope! What an eternity!
All are equal in death - prince and pauper alike. When born we bring nothing into the world and when we leave it we go empty-handed. We can accrue vast wealth and abundance of possessions but when death comes they are of no value to us. But while we can take nothing physical from this earthly sojourn, we do take something - our character. This remains in God's keeping until our resurrection.
Someone once said "Character is what we do in the dark" - what we do and think when there's no-one around. Godly character comes through living by God's Word. It's what we are, what our habits have made us. Let's make sure our character is one worth saving!
Death focuses our mind on what is important in life. We can waste so much precious time on worthless pursuits. But in the end, as King Solomon said: "All is vanity". We must spend our time wisely. Rich and poor, young and old we each have twenty-four hours a day! A Christian's priorities must be different: we must put God first in everything. Our lifeline is daily prayer and Bible study - we neglect them at our peril.
A Grave Opened
As I stood at the grave and watched the coffin lowered into the muddy earth, I looked to the time when that grave will again be opened. God's Word says that at the end of the millennium there will be a resurrection of all who have never understood God's way. I plan to be there at that time to call my mother by name. To see her grave crack open. And to see her restored to life to be given a chance of salvation.
You too have lost loved ones. But you too can stand by their open graves on that momentous day when the graves burst open. You can be there to teach your family, your friends, God's truth. Isn't that worth overcoming for, getting excited about?
Let's be there to play our part in God's great plan for all mankind.
When we have God's Spirit "real life has not yet begun".
by Sarah McBride
To comment on this article or request more information, please contact James McBride by e-mail at the comment form below.
For PDF or mailed copy, see CGOM. Excerpt from New Horizons Issue 12, November/December 1998. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.
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