Henry Durbanville, a Scottish pastor from another era, told the story of an elderly woman in his parish who lived in a remote part of Scotland. She longed to see the city of Edinburgh, but she was afraid to take the journey because of the long, dark tunnel through which the train had to pass to get there.
One day, however, circumstances compelled her to go to Edinburgh, and as the train sped toward the city, her agitation increased. But before the train reached the tunnel, the woman, worn out with worry, fell fast asleep. When she awoke she had already arrived in the city!
It’s possible that some of us will not experience death. If we’re alive when Jesus returns, we will “meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:13–18). But many of us will pass into heaven through death and for some that thought causes great anxiety. We worry that the process of dying will be too difficult to bear.
With the assurance of Jesus as our Savior we can rest in the confidence that when we close our eyes on earth and pass through death, we will open our eyes in God’s presence. “One short sleep past we wake eternally,” John Donne said.
I love the life You’ve given to me, Lord, yet I wonder what it will be like to see You personally. Help me to trust You with the future. I look forward to that day when I meet You.
To see Jesus will be heaven’s greatest joy.
After Paul describes Christ’s return in 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:11, he proceeds to discuss daily living (5:12–24). It is easy to get lost in the intricacies and complexities of biblical prophecy. However, it is all a “revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:1). Amid all the trumpeting and reunions, it is “the Lord himself [who] will come down from heaven” (1 Thess. 4:16). Then Christians will be gloriously “like him for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). How does the vision of Christ’s return have an impact on you individually and practically?