“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” —2 Corinthians 5:8 NKJV
Death is no respecter of persons.
Believers and nonbelievers both die. Believers as well as nonbelievers get cancer, have auto accidents, have heart attacks. But, as believers, we have the promise that we will go straight into the presence of God at death. Paul writes, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
In Luke 16:22, we are told that when the believer Lazarus died, he was “carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.”
My son Christopher left this world some years ago. It comforts me to think he was carried by angels into God’s presence. If only we could have the veil peeled back and see this glorious world we will go to.
When young Stephen was being martyred, he was given a glimpse of glory. “Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily upward into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand” (Acts 7:55–56).
Stephen told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” At this point Stephen’s face “became as bright as an angel’s” (Acts 6:15). Stephen was given a “glimpse of glory,” which awaits all Christians on the other side.
When the great evangelist D. L. Moody was on his deathbed, he said, “Is this dying? Why, this is bliss. There is no valley. I have been within the gates. Earth is receding; heaven is opening; God is calling; I must go.”
Out of their long and painful journey has come a really helpful survival guide, so to speak. It’s a book called Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything. It’s not just an inspiring story of triumph through trials but a how-to book for accepting God’s plan and recognizing His providence even when it feels like your world is shattered.