During Oswald Chambers’ service as a YMCA chaplain in Egypt (1915–1917), he touched the lives of many soldiers who died in World War I. On November 6, 1916, Chambers wrote in his diary: “We have a letter from a New Zealand friend telling us that Ted Strack has been killed. And so Ted Strack has ‘gone to be with Jesus.’ That is just how he would have put it . . . . [He] was a rough beauty of nature and of grace, a fearless, loveable little saint. Thank God for every remembrance of him . . . . So they are gathering one by one.”
As we grieve the death of those we love, we cling to Jesus’ promise of life beyond the grave. The book of Revelation records John’s vision of a great multitude from every nation, tribe, and language gathered around God’s throne in heaven (7:9). The overarching truth of this passage is a glad, eternal reunion when “the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd [us] and lead [us] to living fountains of waters” (v.17).
The passing of every believer in Christ foreshadows the day when we will join them with the Lord. In our sadness today, we are hopeful as we see that “they are gathering one by one.”