2 Corinthians 5:1-8 (ESV)
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
This week will be a challenging week for me in a very personal way. My mom passed away December 6th, 2011, and as I arrive at the one year anniversary of her death, I am painfully aware of how much I miss her and her loving smile. As I looked at some old photos of her a few days ago, I noticed her smile. That smile could make the darkest day turn suddenly bright. In the midst of my own struggles and worry, just seeing my mom and that smile could inspire me to persevere.
A year ago my mom was tired. She was tired of not being able to get up out of bed and she was tired of having to be waited on. She had lived a good and fulfilling life and she was longing to put on her “heavenly dwelling”. She knew that her earthly body was giving out and she was anxiously anticipating her new “heavenly dwelling”. A few weeks before she died she told me that she was tired and if she could not get better, she was ready to go home to heaven. As Paul writes in his letter to the church at Corinth, she was ready to be at home with the Lord.
That is the goal for all of us who believe in Christ, we look forward to the day when we will be at home with the Lord. We look forward to the day when that which is mortal will be swallowed up by life eternal. We look forward to the day when this old body, full of disease and sickness and death, will give way to a new and glorious body, one that will never die but will have eternal life. We look forward to the day when we can experience the glory and character of our creator God. Like Paul, we long to be away from the body and at home with the Lord
I miss my mom. I miss seeing her, talking to her, listening to her and I miss her smile. I miss that voice of encouragement and her kind and loving nature. I miss her but I know that one day I will see her again. I take great hope in the promise that one day I will be reunited with her, my earthly father, my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins that have gone on before me. And I especially take courage and have hope in the fact that I will be in the presence of the Lord and at home with the Lord for an eternity.
Several weeks ago as I was about to preach a sermon on Ruth, I began to think of my mom, and of others in my family that have gone on to heaven. As I sat there I wondered if my mother was able to watch me and listen to my sermon. While I don’t know this for sure, I believe that she was watching over me and listening to me. That is one of God’s mysteries that will not be answered until we cross over and get to heaven. I experienced a comforting and encouraging feeling that gave me an incredible sense of peace as I preached my sermon. I believe that it was the presence of a loving Father God and a proud and smiling mom. I miss you Mom but I rejoice that you are in the presence of God.
As the Apostle Paul wrote, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). For now our knowledge is restricted to the revelation that God has made known to us. But in that day, when all is revealed and we are able to see “face to face”, what a blessed and glorious day that will be. Face to face with all of our loved ones who have gone on before us. And “face to face” with God, who loves us and gave us life through his Son, Jesus the Christ. Amen.