Death and The Life AfterThe story is told of a missionary family who were forced to leave inland China when the enemy took over the country. Each night on their flight to the coast they slept in a different village hut. One night the missionary's wife died quite suddenly and unexpectedly. When morning came he had to explain what had happened to the grief-stricken children.
None of them would consent to leaving their mother's body behind, buried in the soil of a foreign land. If ever the missionary prayed for wisdom and the right words, he did that day he tried to explain to his children. He reminded them that they had stayed in a different but every night, but when morning came and it was time to leave, they continued on their journey, leaving the hut behind. He told the children that their mother's body was the house in which she lived. During the night God told her to come home, so she went, leaving her house behind.
"That house was her body and we loved it," he said, "but Mother no longer lives in it. So we'll leave her here and put her in the ground until the Lord picks her up and takes her body home to be glorified and again restored to her spirit, which is with God now." That settled the question for them and they left China, certain that their mother had gone on ahead of them to heaven.
If the two stages of death seem difficult to understand, a minister explained them by using this simple illustration which may help. He noticed a shop in his town which was no longer open for business. One day while driving past the building he saw a sign in the window, "Closed for Alterations." The owner had suspended his business dealings with the public long enough to renovate the store. After a time the store was reopened with many changes and improvements. This is a picture of the death of the believer. He moves out of his body until it has been repaired, then, at the resurrection, the inward man will move into his renewed body.
Our Patient Merciful God
The Bible and the Gospel speak of God's great mercy for us ...
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“Enter his gates with
thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him
and praise his name.