2 Corinthians 5:8 (ESV) … “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
Paul could see nothing to fear in the thought of death. When a believer comes to the end of life’s journey, they close their eyes, opening them to look one last time into the faces of their loved ones gathered around their bed, closing them again, and opening them to look straight into the face of Jesus.
For that Christian, they are absent from the body, present with the Lord. Such is not the case with the lost. They are absent from the body, absent also from the Lord.
How sure can a believer be of this promise? More than sure! Absolutely sure! Just last night I witness this type of great faith in action. For earlier in the day I had prayed with a family getting ready to say a final goodbye to their Christian loved love. Now before Wednesday night services last night could begin, our dearly beloved Mrs. Francis slipped into the arms of Jesus.
Stopping by her old home to check in on her husband, Mr. Bobby, I found a man of undeniable faith. While broken-hearted, he was not broken in grief. I asked Mr. Bobby if there was anything I could do? He said, “I am hungry, and I think I want to go to Dairy Queen.”
Just a bit of backstory might be necessary here for us. For the truth is, Mr. Bobby and Mrs. Francis always went to Dairy Queen before church on Wednesday nights. Mrs. Francis went with Mr. Bobby every Wednesday to DQ before her health started failing her. In fact, there were many a time that my wife and I have eaten with of them at Dairy Queen, before the Wednesday night church services.
So last night when Mr. Bobby said he was hungry and wanted Dairy Queen, I knew just what to ask him as a minister. I asked, “Do you want to go with me?” And then I asked him, “Do you want to go to church or just come back home after we eat?” Mr. Bobby said in an absolute faith, “Yes I do, I want to eat and go to our church.”
On our drive to Dairy Queen and church, we talked of how he and Francis met. We spoke of their wonderful sixty-five year plus in marriage. We spoke of their family and the many of the blessings that God had given to them in that sixty-five beautiful years.
For me, the most amazing happened. I saw Mr. Bobby give his most reliable witness of Jesus ever. For he was so rock-solid in his faith for his beloved Francis. Bobby knew that he would miss her much. However, he knew that today was a winning day for her. No longer would she be sick. No longer would she hurt. No longer would she be a prisoner in her own body. She was now free. She was free to be with Jesus.
Mr. Bobby said, “I will see her again one day soon.” I knew just what he was saying in that simple statement. That he will keep going to Dairy Queen to fellowship with other Christians before church, and he will keep coming to church to praise their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Bobby knows that we are never absent from the Lord. That where Jesus is, Francis is, and that at church, is the closest he can be to Francis now. Mr. Bobby Cate, this rock-solid man of faith knew that there is no better place to be close to Jesus than with his church and in the bonds of Christian fellowship. Mr. Bobby knew, “Yes, we (can be) of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”