Word for Wednesday

We are confident, I say, and willing, rather, to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8

The most powerful instinct in all of nature is that of self preservation. This is true of all animals, and it is true of all humans. We will do whatever is necessary, in most cases, to keep ourselves alive. In dangerous situations, we go to great lengths to make sure we don’t encounter personal harm or death. The reason there are so few true heroes around us is that so few people are actually willing to place their lives on the line to rescue or protect others. If someone were to attempt to take their own life, we know that person is suffering from a serious mental illness. Our own life is the sweetest commodity we have, and none of us want to give it up. We dread the thought of a deathbed and what lies beyond. But like the apostle Paul, those of us who belong to Christ have something far more glorious to look forward to in the next life than we could ever experience in this poor world of sin and death.

Paul was not suicidal. He knew that his life was precious, and he held onto it as long and as fully as he could. But he had no fear of that time when he would have to face the hereafter. Like us, he dreaded death itself, but he was able to see what lay beyond that king of terrors, and he was content to endure whatever was necessary because of his confidence in his eternal future. Paul never forgot the vision he received on the Damascus Road. He had seen the Lord, a sight that forever changed everything about himself. During the years since that moment, he had often gone back to the memory and rejoiced. But now he is getting along in years and his time for departure to his heavenly home is getting closer. Mingled with his wonderful memory of seeing the Lord on the Damascus Road is the wonderful anticipation of seeing the Lord in Glory. Such a glorious anticipation can help us today to put the fear of death in its place, because we too are hastening to that moment when we will be forever with the Lord.

There is nothing morbid in our anticipation of Heaven. In fact, a proper appreciation of where we are going should serve to cheer us today and to give us a proper perspective in this life. The trials and struggles of this live will be lighter as we grasp the reality that our afflictions are temporary and our eternal bliss is eternal. We can face trials and struggles more easily when we remember that the most thorny road leads to Jesus’ presence. We can appreciate the delights and joys that we receive each day so much the more when we sense the Lord’s desire to magnify those delights and joys in His own presence.

We can’t understand how it will be for us to depart from our bodies. Nor can we enter into the wonder of being present with the Lord. But it is worth our thinking about today. – Jim MacIntosh

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