This year my beautiful mother-in-law Selah will spend her first Christmas with the King of Kings. I can’t imagine how amazing this first Christmas with Jesus will be for her. I got the treasure of her Bible after she passed. Her favorite translation in my 32 years of knowing her has been the Amplified version. Finding 2 Corinthians 5 today in Selah’s favorite translation made me think of how this Christmas will be for her. The Scripture likens our body on earth to a tent and discusses the new bodies we get in heaven.
“For we know that if the earthly tent [our physical body] which is our house is torn down [through death], we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our [immortal, eternal] celestial dwelling, 3 so that by putting it on we will not be found naked.2 Corinthians 5:1-3
Swallowed Up by Life
The older I get, especially after cancer/chemo/radiation/surgery, the more I can relate to verse 4. Our bodies get tired, and they oppress our emotions and thoughts. I don’t want to be bodiless or die, but I am thankful for my hope for the future that’s beyond this life. The pain and fatigue my mother-in-law experienced, she doesn’t have anymore. I suffer from some of the same conditions. I’m nowhere close to wanting to die and be free of it in that way. However, when I think of Selah, I take comfort in the knowledge that she is free. We are assured that her pain and anguish have been “swallowed up by life.” She has a new body and mind. She’s at peace spending this first Christmas with heavenly loved ones in the loving arms of her mighty Creator.
“For while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened [often weighed down, oppressed], not that we want to be unclothed [separated by death from the body], but to be clothed, so that what is mortal [the body] will be swallowed up by life [after the resurrection].”2 Corinthians 5:4
Good Courage and Confident Hope
The longer we spend time with God in an active relationship the stronger this eternal spiritual hope within us grows. When I was fighting for my life during cancer treatment, no matter how bad I felt, there was an untouchable, ever-present hope that gave me courage. That hope gave me courage. Even now, when I face very hard and hopeless situations, I have that “Blessed Assurance,” as the old hymn says. It was is a taste or a downpayment on the future promise that my mother-in-law Selah now enjoys right now.
5 Now He who has made us and prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the [Holy] Spirit as a pledge [a guarantee, a down payment on the fulfillment of His promise].6 So then, being always filled with good courage and confident hope, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord—2 Corinthians 5:5-6
That Faith and Hope
When we experience the Holy Spirit in us, it’s possible to have “good courage and confident hope” as in 2 Corinthians. It’s what faith does in our trials that nothing on this earth can do for us. Through it, we have “foretaste of Glory divine” as said in the old hymn, “Blessed Assurance”. As we remember our loved ones who passed, let’s consider the comfort and joy they have in heaven. They live in the fullness of that faith and hope that gets us through the rough times in life.
7 for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]— 8 we are [as I was saying] of good courage and confident hope, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.2 Corinthians 5:7-8
In Our Sorrow
If you are feeling the pain of loss God is very close to you. He knows this pain intimately and wants to comfort you.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.Psalm 34:18