Monday, February 11, 2013

"Till Death Do Us Part"

“For I am persuaded, that neither death…shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”  (Romans 8:38 & 39)

         In the traditional wedding ceremony, the vows spoken by both the bride and groom are finalized with but one qualifier: “…till death do us part.” What each one saying is that the promise to love, honor, and take care of the other exclusively is a bond only death can break, at least as far as he or she is concerned. Although the memories of a deceased spouse will always be there, the reality of his or her person has been severed. This is a heart-wrenching experience for any marriage, especially when long years have fused their love into something grand and glorious.

         It occurred to me recently that when Jesus Christ became my Savior, Lord…and Bridegroom (2 Cor. 11:2), His vows of faithfulness to me did not include those five words, “…till death do us part.” In fact, while by faith I have the joy His presence now, death (or the Second Coming) will open to me the glory of His very Person. From that day, all those years ago, when I acknowledged my need of a Savior and pledged my love to Him forever, nothing will ever separate us, now or in the future. I think it is significant that when Paul lists all those extreme circumstances and entities that one might think could sever God from His people, first on the list is “death.” There is a finality about death that seems to preclude anything and anybody from our existence. No wonder the final offering of encouragement is always, “Where there’s life, there’s hope.” Well, child of God, in our case, where there’s death, there’s hope! God has disarmed death (1 Cor. 15: 54-55) by the resurrection of His crucified Son, so that now it’s no longer a parting but a portal. A portal into His very presence, in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. That’s the greatest hope of all.
         Unless the Lord returns first, one day, my husband of many years and I will be parted in death. Even if we die simultaneously that relationship will be severed. But my relationship with God through Jesus Christ will continue on, without a hitch. One last (truly) breathtaking moment here, and the next one inhaling celestial air in a new body “like unto his glorious body” (Philip. 3:21). And should I dread this? Should you? Death may be a parting from loved ones and friends, here, but not from God. Nothing shall ever separate us from Him. In the words of Martha Snell Nicholson,

This isn’t death; it’s glory!
It isn’t dark; it’s light.
It isn’t stumbling, groping,
It isn’t faith; it’s sight.
This isn’t grief, it’s having
My last tear wiped away.
It’s sunrise; it’s the morning
Of my eternal day.

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