R.I.P. (Part 3)

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. (Philippians 1:21-26 ESV).

We continue in our study with a second truth: heaven is a place of resplendent glory, and being with Christ in the glory of heaven will be far superior to our present earthly lives. The Apostle Paul says that departing this life to be with Christ “is very much better” (v. 23) and that he would “prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Notice also that being in heaven with the Lord is referred to as being “at home.” That home is secure. That home is eternal.

When we lived in Tennessee both Mary and I felt that our house there was our last house. I often called it my “casket house.” The reference was that the only way I would be moving out of that house would be in a casket. Well, here we are in Texas! I certainly hope this is our “casket house.” However, it will not be my final “home.” I have only one home, now and forever. It is heaven. Think of your present residence as nothing more than a port where you are temporarily moored in your journey. As circumspect as your path may have been, as challenging as it may have become, there is so much more awaiting you when you get home. This is merely one of the things that will make heaven so great; it is that we will finally feel that we are in our true home.

I must admit that is a difficult thought to concentrate on in the midst of pain. Perhaps one of my “tricks” to accomplish this will be helpful to you. When I find myself being short-sighted in regard to my ultimate dispensation, I simply remember the life of Joseph. Through all the difficulties of his experience he always knew his home was the Promised Land. For him that was a geographical location. He lived long before the coming of the Messiah and thus his knowledge was not as developed as ours. What he did know was that God would see to it that his “bones” would find their rest in his home, even though he had not known that home since his boyhood. And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” (Genesis 50:24-50 ESV). Home is yet to be. It will be a place of freedom, fullness, and finality.