My wife Luann has a folder she calls her “heaven file.” It contains articles, obituaries, and photos, along with cards from the memorial services of family and friends. She keeps them, not as a sad reminder of people we have loved and lost, but in anticipation of our glad reunion with them in heaven.
Paul wrote of this wonderful expectation to the Christians in Thessalonica, so they would not grieve like people who have no hope. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout . . . . And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:16-18).
This passage speaks of our future joy together in the presence of Jesus Christ our Savior. For now, we on earth have fellowship with the Lord, and we experience what hymnwriter Samuel J. Stone called “mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won.”
Much about the future remains a mystery, but we can confidently look forward to being in the presence of Christ with all the saints who have gone ahead.
When we asunder part
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again. —Fawcett
God’s children never say goodbye for the last time.