Just then there appeared before them
Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.”
Matthew 17:3 (NIV)
Human beings have a curious way of speaking about some things. We are able to ask questions when we are actually making a statement. For example, if we think someone is not as good as they think they are (singer, parent, etc.) we might ask the question, “Who does he/she think they are?”
Our question is not an effort to gain information about the person’s impression of who they think they are. We know very well who they think they are. The statement we are really trying to make in asking the question is that the person is definitely not who they think they are. So, in asking a question, we state a fact. Rather confusing to an outsider, but we know what the speaker wants to say.
Now in another area of life, and a vastly more important one at that, is the notion that we ought to speak of the dead in the past tense. We might say, Moses was a great man. Implying Moses does not exist anymore but when he was on earth he was a great man.
We speak generally of the dead in the same way. I might say that I had a great dad or a great mother because in my lifetime of knowing them they were special to me. However, since their deaths, I now say that I had a great mom or dad. I would not say that I have a great mom or dad. This is the usual way of speaking of those who have left us for heaven.
May I challenge that way of speaking about the dead? Let me explain. If my dad had moved from Canada to Australia, when he lived here with us, would I say I no longer had a dad because he lived in another country? Of course not! That would be silly.
But somehow, when a Christian moves to the country called heaven, we decide to speak of the person in the past tense as though they no longer existed. My father has lived in the country called heaven since 1984 and this is 2012. Should I say I had a great dad because he is in another country? Should I say I lost my dad?
No! A thousand times “No!” I still have a wonderful father, I just cannot visit him right now. He is still a great person, better even that when he was with me here on earth.
So if you have released a loved one to their heavenly Father’s immediate presence, don’t say you lost them or that you “had” a great parent. You still have them, they are just a step ahead of you on the journey to heaven. So speak in the positive manner of the Bible. The day Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus (Matthew 17:1-8) the stunned apostles realized that Moses and Elijah were still great prophets of God, they merely lived elsewhere.
Comfort yourself with this great truth today. Your loved one speaks with Jesus and the saints of the ages and the loved one is interested in what is happening here on earth just as Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus that day so long ago. You have not lost your loved ones, you know exactly where they are. Because you believe in Jesus you shall be reunited with them forever in the presence of our beloved Savior.