My Friend Died Yesterday

I hate to admit it, but this Christian maturity thing is hard.  Knowing that death is out there is one thing.  Losing a friend to death is quite another.  As with most things, the general knowledge of a thing is just not the same as a personal knowledge.

A friend died yesterday; a man I had been disicipling and encouraging to grow in Christian maturity.  And I could actually see the growth.

Like many of us, he was a refugee from Hillcrest Baptist Church.  He, like the rest of us, was feeling insecure and hurt spiritually.

But about a year and a half ago he just seemed to ignite.  We had been going over a couple of  Lewis S. Chafer books, “Major Bible Themes” and “True Evangelism” and he had ignited with respect to Evangelism.  Wednesday, we held a training session in preparation for going to Iverson Mall this past Saturday (24 August 2013).  He died Friday, 23 August 2013.

I won’t try to pass off the usual bromides.  I am certain he was, as Jesus called it, born again.  So yes, his sins were washed by the blood of Jesus and he had the righteousness of Christ.  And yes, the Bible promises that when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).  But a personal experience with death helps us, helps me, to understand that those who are left behind will miss the one who is now present with the Lord.

The knowledge of salvation gives those left behind a reason to both mourn (however long we need to mourn) the loss of a loved one and to rejoice in knowing, with the assurance of the Bible, that the one we love has “gone to be with the Lord.”

That phrase, gone to be with the Lord, is not simply a euphemism for “died.”  It is, when used with any understanding on the part of the Christian, an affirmation of faith for the Christian.  It is an affirmation of the statements the Bible makes about the result of death for the Christian.  It is an affirmation of our faith in the truth of the Gospel and in the faithfulness of God.    It is an affirmation of our faith in the ultimate destination of the Christian.

If we believe Jesus died on the cross, if we believeHe was raised from the dead, if we believe He ascended into heaven nds sits at the right hand of God, then we can be comforted with the Bible’s assurance that when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord.

I don’t know what that presence looks like.  I don’t know what that presence feels like.  But I do know that we are promised that presence.  And given that God is faithful even when we are unfaithful (2 Tim 2:13), we can have the assurance that the unsaved lack.

My friend died yesterday.   I will miss him.  But I know, based on the word of my Lord and Savior, that my friend has gone to be with the Lord.

12 Responses to “My Friend Died Yesterday”

  1. Chris Says:

    This is heartbreaking, Melvin. It is encouraging, though, to read of the assurance you have that your friend is now safely in the arms of our Savior.

  2. A Biblical Worldview Says:

    Melvin,

    My heartfelt condolences on the loss of your friend.

    It was not until my dear sweet grandmother home to be with the Lord nine years ago did I really come to terms with how we as Christians are really to deal with the death of a loved one. In my spiritual immaturity, I dreaded the death of Christians that I love, and quite frankly, my own death. Once my precious grandmother went home, after suffering from alzheimers disease for the last 10 of her 96 years, the Lord gave me a peace through His Word in Psalm 116:15, which says “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” It was almost as if the light bulb came on. God loves us and has prepared a place for us that is indescribably better than this world. I thought of the joy my grandma was experiencing being in the presence of the Lord. She had endured the loss of her husband, which left her as the single mother of six children. She endured the loss of her youngest son in the war, and two of her grandchildren who were lynched by klansmen. I knew that these things had caused her deep, lingering pain all of her life, and now she remembers that pain no more. More importantly than that, the Lord loves her so much more than I did, even though I love her deeply. Paul said “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better…” (Phil. 1:23). I knew that she loved us and wanted to be with us, but she loved the Lord and wanted to be with Him also. So, my spirit rejoiced because she is the arms of the Lord, but at the same time, my flesh mourns because I loved her so much and miss her presence. I miss her smile; I miss hearing her voice and having her encourage me in whatever I am doing. I miss her spending time with my children and telling me stories about her childhood. I miss Sunday dinner at her house. I miss her potato salad and fried chicken. I miss my grandma.

    I said all that to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with mourning the loss of your friend. The super-spiritualists would have you think that something is wrong with you if you are sad about the death of a loved one who was a Christian. How can you not be sad that you will not see that person or spend any more time with that person? The consolation is, however, that they are with the Lord for all eternity, and one day, you will be with them also.

    YSIC,
    Tee

  3. Rudy Duke Says:

    Melvin; my sympathy goes out to you and all others that your friend left behind. The Blessed Assurance that he is with the Lord is very comforting, but I agree that we all mourn nonetheless.

  4. Cushie Says:

    Sorry to hear bro’…

  5. bbeingphilled Says:

    Thanks for the encouraging Word I lost my mum and uncle this year and they were born again and it’s a blessing to know they are present with The Lord

    Sorry for your loss

  6. Renee Says:

    Saddened to hear of the loss of your friend, praying for you and the family!!

  7. Luis Ramon De Jesus Says:

    My condolences my Brother.

  8. Danny Says:

    Melvin,
    Rev. 20: 14. God destroys death and the grave.
    Elsewhere in Bible we learn that death our last ‘enemy’ will be defeated by Almighty God.
    Vale.

  9. Sharon Frazier Says:

    In my mind, I think, sometimes God takes us at our best, so He can add an angel!

    (MN: Not so. God takes us at our worst – saves us while we were yet sinners), rejects all of our works that we may do in order to kiss up to Him, gives us a new heart, and works in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure. )

  10. worldgirl Says:

    Having lost my own mother a few months ago, I understand. The nice sayings and quotes are just that nice, but we’re still human and its only natural for us to grieve.

  11. Paul F. Williams Says:

    The Scripture reads that we ‘desire’ to be with The Lord. That does not mean you are with The Lord. 2Cr 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with The Lord. This carries a different context.

    (MN: Actually not. The verse says “we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” But prior to that, Paul makes it pretty clear in 5:6 that it is not simply a matter of desiring to be with Him if we are absent from the body. Throughout the New Testament we are told that we are pilgrims, stranger, just passing through. And we are told that our ultimate destination is heaven. Even at the beginning of the chapter Paul talks about us groaning to change residence. His reference just before the verse in question talks about us being present in the body (not simply desiring to be present) and absent from the Lord. The presence with the Lord is not simply something I hope for. It is something from which I gain hope. )

    • Anonymous Says:

      Joh 3:13, And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

      Mat 5:5, Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

      No disrespect, my point is that I do not think that folks going to heaven is scripturally supported. I think that we ‘sleep’ awaiting the judgement and will be raised in the appropriate order (1Co 15: 22-24)… then we will reign with Yeshua (Jesus) here on earth.

      22, For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
      23, But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ’s, at his coming.
      24, Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power).

      ps… love your site…pfw

      (MN: Thank you. But I don’t think your quotes prove much of anything. Except for your use of the term Yeshua, I could even suspect you of being a Jehovah’s Witness or a 7th Day Adventist. )

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