Sunday, 30 January 2011

Sunday Blessings - Four Days in Heaven

Many of us lost our dear ones last year. I bid farewell to senior relatives and family friends too. Max Lucado 's article focuses on the heavenly perspective. Be blessed reading it.

When Death Becomes Birth
by Max Lucado

You, as all God’s children, live one final breath from your own funeral. Which, from God’s perspective, is nothing to grieve. He responds to these grave facts with this great news: “The day you die is better than the day you are born” (Eccles. 7:1). Now there is a twist. Heaven enjoys a maternity-ward reaction to funerals. Angels watch body burials the same way grandparents monitor delivery-room doors. “He’ll be coming through any minute!” They can’t wait to see the new arrival. While we’re driving hearses and wearing black, they’re hanging pink and blue streamers and passing out cigars. We don’t grieve when babies enter the world. The hosts of heaven don’t weep when we leave it.

Oh, but many of us weep at the thought of death. Do you? Do you dread your death?
Is your fear of dying robbing your joy of living? Jesus came to “deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying” (Heb. 2:15).

If Scripture boasted a list of the famous dead, Lazarus would be near the top. He lived in Bethany, a sleepy hamlet that sat a short walk from Jerusalem. Jesus spent a lot of time there. Maybe he liked the kitchen of Martha or the devotion of Mary. One thing is for sure: he considered Lazarus a friend. News of Lazarus’s death prompts Jesus to say, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up” (John 11:11).

And now, four days after the funeral, Jesus has come calling. Literally calling, “Lazarus, come out!” Can we try to picture Lazarus as he hears those words? Heaven-sent Lazarus. Heaven-happy Lazarus.

Four days into his measureless days. By now he’s forming fast friendships with other saints.
King David shows him the harps.
Moses invites him over for tea and manna.
Elijah and Elisha take him for a spin in the fiery chariot.
Daniel has promised him a lion of a Bible story.
He’s on his way to hear it when a voice booms through the celestial city.
“Lazarus, come out!”
Everybody knows that voice.
No one wonders, Who was that?
Angels stop.
Hosts of holy-city dwellers turn toward the boy from Bethany, and someone says, “Looks like you’re going back for another tour of duty.”
Lazarus doesn’t question the call.
Perfect understanding comes with a heavenly passport. He doesn’t object. But had he done so, who could have faulted him? His heavenly body knows no fever. His future no fear. He indwells a city that is void of padlocks, prisons, and Prozac. With sin and death nonexistent, preachers, doctors, and lawyers are free to worship. Would anyone blame Lazarus for saying, “Do I have to go back?”

But he doesn’t second-guess the command. Nor does anyone else. Return trips have been frequent of late.
The daughter of the synagogue ruler.
The boy from Nain.
Now Lazarus from Bethany.
Lazarus turns toward the rarely used exit door.

The very one, I suppose, Jesus used some thirty earth years earlier. With a wave and within a wink, he’s reunited with his body and waking up on a cold slab in a wall-hewn grave. The rock to the entrance has been moved, and Lazarus attempts to do the same. Mummy-wrapped, he stiffly sits up and walks out of the tomb with the grace of Frankenstein’s monster.
People stare and wonder.

We read and may ask, “Why did Jesus let him die only to call him back?”
To show who runs the show. To trump the cemetery card. To display the unsquashable strength of the One who danced the Watusi on the neck of the devil, who stood face to clammy face with death and declared, “You call that a dead end? I call it an escalator.”
“Lazarus, come out!”
Those words, incidentally, were only a warmup for the big day. He’s preparing a worldwide grave evacuation. “Joe, come out!” “Maria, come out!” “Giuseppe, come out!” “Jacob, come out!” Grave after grave will empty. What happened to Lazarus will happen to us. Only our spirit-body reunion will occur in heaven, not Bethany Memorial Cemetery.

When this happens—when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die—then at last the Scriptures will come true:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
(1 Cor. 15:54–55)
With Christ as your friend and heaven as your home, the day of death becomes sweeter than the day of birth.
Come Thirsty
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2004) Max Lucado

12 Fertilize my soul:

carolyn said...

thank you for posting that, it is a blessing!
Hubby and daughter left this morning for Tucson, they'll be gone for ten days and I will quote this to the voice of worry when it comes knocking!

FlowerLady said...

That was fantastic and what encouraging words for believers, and it even just might be what an unbeliever needs to hear to win his/her heart to God.

Thank you ~ FlowerLady

Zim said...

You are right. People make plans, worry about future, run for money and rich life... But in the time of disease, in old age or in the day of death - they don't know what to do. Because in Heaven God don't look on money, job, education, beauty etc. I don't fear of my dead - I have my life in Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Dear, dear Amrita,
Thank you for these lovely, comforting words for Sunday. Take good care of yourself. In prayer, Sally

Terra said...

I had never thought of how angels are reacting when the funeral is occurring, and how they are excited and full of joy to meet a new soul. I love this.

David C Brown said...

"For if we believe that Jesus has died and has risen again, so also God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus."

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

My dearest Amrita,
I think this is the message I needed to hear today. I've been thinking of my mother, who is in heaven, and this reflection is so comforting.

Thank you Amrita for stopping by my blog and for your sweet comment.

(((((( hugs ))))))


Amrita said...

Praise th e Lord this article has been such a blessing.

Dear flowerlady I welcome you to my blog. I am blessed by your blog an d have become your folower.

Trish said...

Dear Amrita...what beautiful words of Max Lucado. Thank you so much for posting blessed me today!

Jackie said...

Oh, sister Amrita....You have no idea how much this post touched my heart today!

My dear 91 yr old mother is growing closer to her homegoing and I've been thinking alot about her leaving this earth could be today...He knows and is preparing my heart for sure and Max Lucado's word here are for me.....Your post is such a word in season for me, Amrita! Thank you!


Amrita said...

Dearest Jackie, I praise God this has been an encouragement to you. We need to be looking unto Jesus at a time like this. I 've been through this many times in th e past few years. It is so hard.

Amrita said...

I want to say all your comments mean such a lot to me friends.