I went to a memorial service yesterday – I’ve been to several lately – for a godly woman I had known in my childhood and youth. Jo Ann helped me get my first job the summer between high school and college and took me with her each evening on the 25 mile trip to the Old National Bank in downtown Seattle. It gave me a chance to get to know her better, this capable woman who loved the Lord, her family, and good books.
I got to know her again through yesterday’s service and the chance to visit with her daughters afterward. They, too, were lovely and compassionate women, quick to laugh and love, even as they dealt with their mom’s passing. Assured that she is with the Lord and they, too, will be, they modeled the hope that we have as believers in Christ, even in death.
How is it that Christians can face death and not be afraid? How is it possible to die in peace? How can anyone even be sure that he or she has lived a good enough life to make it into Heaven?
The truth is, it’s not possible to live such a good life. If it were up to us, faithfully slugging it out in this life so that we will qualify to enter Heaven when we die, no one would make it.
The good new is this: Jesus has qualified us by His own death and resurrection. In God’s providence, when Jesus died on the cross He took our sins on Himself. When He was resurrected, He conquered death. As The Message version of 1 Corinthians 15:55 says:
“Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?”
What’s our part? To receive this free gift of salvation. To humbly accept that Jesus has paid the price of our sins and has set us free! Then to live our lives in gratitude. And one day we will see Him who loves us enough to have died in our place. We will be with Him for eternity. And this is our Hope as believers.