“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” (Prov. 16:9)
The passage of time means very little to the one who has been crucified with Christ, our view is eternal, and this life is no more than the beginning of that continuance. There are no end-of-life thoughts in the mind of the born-again believer, simply a transition from one plane of existence to another. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55)
At that doorway there may or may not be pain, that is for God to decide, our decision in contemplating that final moment is how our spirit will receive it, for we know for a fact that our flesh will fear it greatly, and I feel great sorrow in saying this, but I believe it may be true, many who claim Jesus Christ as Lord desire to be a part of the rapture of the church only because of that fear of death. Not only the possibility of the physical pain that may arrive with it, but the fear that still lives within them of the end of all they have ever known.
When this body dies, we die, it is our transport vehicle, as it were, in this particular realm of existence and although we will be rejoining it, as all who will be glorified in heaven will be, (1 Thess. 4:16) it is not needed in heaven. The proof of this lies in two undeniable facts in those who love the Lord Jesus, their bodies are still in the grave and they themselves are with the Lord right now. The problem, as it were, is that only one of these facts can be proven.
I have always been interested in those verses in 1 Thessalonians chapter four, those who have gone on before us, whose bodies are in the grave today, will those graves burst open, or will the cemeteries still look the same? There is a little-known passage in Matthew 27:53 that I do not believe I can recall ever hearing a sermon on. “And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” Not everyone had a sepulcher with a stone rolled in front of the opening in those days, many were buried in the earth no different than they are today. Dead men walking, graves burst open, professing the coming age of grace and the Lord Jesus Christ, and then, as best as conjecture will allow, when called to, walking back to that grave.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” (1 Thess. 4:16) If every thought you have is held captive for Christ, (2 Cor. 10:5) then where He is, is where we want to be, but I ask you this, if indeed you are born-again then the Holy Spirit is within you, how much closer to God can you get?
If you are serving the Lord Jesus Christ today, if you have been crucified with Him, if you are living by faith, and not by sight, then you are as close to the Lord as you could ever be. What we want is to be in His presence, to see Him with our eyes, to hear Him with our ears, to sit with Him and speak with Him with our voice, and not just in our mind. What we want is to be in the physical presence of the Most High, to actually experience the incomprehensible joy of Him with every fiber of our being. We want to stop imagining Him and start experiencing Him fully.
Every one of us is in a dry and thirsty land, we live in a world enveloped not only by sin, but covered in a curse, and to think otherwise is to deceive ourselves. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41) Yes, we have the Holy Spirit inside of us, yes we are perhaps as close to God as we can possibly be, at least in this life, but what we desire above all else is not to escape this sinful world, not to be free of that old sinful nature within us, the flesh that constantly strives against the Holy Spirit, what we want is to be in the presence of the Lord God, we want Psalm 16:11, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
He is showing us the path of life, He is directing our steps, to an end that is only the beginning.