John 11:25-26 – Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (NASB)
I recently attended two funeral services. They had several things in common: both were for elderly people who had died after long illnesses; both individuals were parents of people with whom I work. There the similarities end.
One person was a non-believer; the other was a Christian. One died reluctantly, hanging on to this life with angry words. The other died literally reaching one hand toward heaven, while his wife, holding his other hand, was praying. One died with a grimace; the other with a peaceful visage.
The funeral services were different also. At one there was a small crowd of mostly family to say goodbye. It was a sad affair lacking in hope. The second service was attended by hundreds of people in a small town, and was a celebration of a life spent in the Lord's service.
Both people will be missed by friends and family, but those who attended the second service were filled with hope and gladness for a brother who had left a world of pain for a better place. For like Jesus' friend, Martha, the people saying farewell to their brother in Christ trusted in the words of our Lord: He is the resurrection — and those who believe never die.
Prayer: Lord, please help us to lead our daily lives so that we may someday receive the fulfilment of your promise of life eternal with you. Amen.