“Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” John 8:51
“Never fear death; Jesus won’t let you face it.” Trevor Morris, note to his sons
In all my years as a believer, I had never heard John 8:51 preached until my husband preached on it. Little did anyone know, that just a few months short months later, Trevor himself would pass from this world into glory. Today I want to unpack the hope found in this short, often overlooked verse.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they were kicked out of the garden of Eden. It wasn’t just for punishment; it was a merciful gift from our Lord. Why? Because after they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and became sinful, if they’d also eaten from the tree of life, we would all live in our sinful, broken state for all of eternity. Can you imagine wrestling with our sinful desires forever? Praise God we don’t have to. We all can look forward to the hope of eternity when sin will be a thing of the past.
Just what hope can we glean from this little verse in John? Clearly, believers do die, so what does it mean? For those of us who love Christ, we don’t have to be here to draw our last breath. It means that God gives his children this final gift: when we pass from this world to the next, we don’t have to experience death. When his close friend Lazarus lay dying, Jesus waited. When he did return, his friend had already passed away. How did he comfort Martha? In John 11:25-26 he says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” We don’t die. We pass from death to life. I’m not sure exactly how it works, but basically, he does something supernatural to take us home right before we draw our last breath. Why is this so important? It means we don’t have to fear death because we won’t experience it. It doesn’t mean we won’t experience illness or pain, but it does mean that we won’t have to labor with our final breath; he will take us home right before that. For me, it means that I know when that plane hit the ground, my husband didn’t feel that pain of impact. Right before then, the Lord snatched him up into his presence forever. It plainly means that my husband was never dead. When I was told the news that he had died, it meant his body had died. I wouldn’t see him for awhile, but he was very much alive. I believe with my whole heart that he was already with our God in heaven when I was collapsing on my porch with the weight of the news.
A lot of people might read this, and think so what? Good for them. But for those of us who have lost someone so very close to us, what a comfort it is to know that God pulled them into his arms before they had to experience death in this world. I still sobbed as I washed the blood off my husband’s wedding band, but I could draw solace from the fact that when he bled, his soul was already home. Sister, you too can rest in the knowledge that, if your husband loved Jesus, he was taken safely into the presence of God before he felt the sting of death. It’s a promise that’s for you too. If you have repented of your sins and trusted in Christ alone for salvation, you too can look forward to being in God’s glorious eternity someday. If you would like more information about having a relationship with Christ, please message me. I would love to talk with you!
I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without my faith. Some days, it was so hard to just keep going; I have no idea how I would’ve kept on without the strength and help of the Lord. It felt like I would take one step forward and then ten steps back. However, I can look back now and see just how far God has brought me. He has pieced my broken heart back together. I have seen him in the darkest of times. I may have cried to him (repeatedly) in the dead of night, but he has never left me. I have seen him restore my family. It’s not the same, but it can still be good because it’s all a part of his plan. We can abide in the one whose plan is always perfect and will always work out perfectly because he holds all things together and will one day make all things new. So if it feels like you’re stagnating in a broken mess right now as you navigate this new season, know that God is acting. He is working in your heart and the hearts of your children to mold you and make you into who he wants y’all to be. He’s not silent. He’s making you new.
“The world desperately needs the courage and the Christ of fearless Christians who know they will never taste death. Be one.” John Piper