I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of long lines.

When I am at the supermarket, I will even go to the 12-items-or-less line, so I don’t have to wait. The problem is that I usually need to get more than 12 items, but I do it anyway, just so I don’t have to wait in another line!

Of course, I will still count the number of items the person in front of me is buying!

And when a new lane opens and they say, “Next in line,” I’m a happy camper.

Imagine that you are standing in the hot blistering sun, waiting for Disneyland to open. You are far back in line, and it seems to be taking forever. Suddenly, a man comes to you and identifies himself as the CEO of Disney. He invites you to step ahead of the line and get in the park before everyone else.

Would you be happy about that? Of course you would, though I’m sure the other people waiting might resent that a bit.

That’s how it is when a Christian dies young or unexpectedly. They get to go ahead of the rest of us—not to Disneyland, but to heaven! Getting into heaven early is a privilege, not a punishment. It’s a promotion, not a termination. An early death means an early crown.

Our deepest regret is we didn’t get to go with them. We should not think of our loved ones in heaven as being gone. That word is taken from the vocabulary of death, and it implies that the loved one no longer exists, which could not be more false. The Bible says that they have departed to be with Christ, which is far better (see Philippians 1:23).

If you must use the word “gone,” then you should say, “They are gone from me now, but I will see them again.” This is the great hope of the Christian!

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25–26 nkjv).