“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
Matthew 5:8 (NIV)
We use the word spared to indicate we have been delivered from some great calamity or disaster of one sort or another. So the term is what we call a “pejorative” word. It is a word associated with things negative and nasty. As a verb, “spare” often mean to refrain from inflicting something negative on someone or group.
When I was discharged from two weeks in ICU at Joseph Brant Hospital in August 2013 I had a close friend visit me. In our conversation we talked about me having Streptococcus A Septicemia. That name designates a particularly potent bacterial infection. In my case it was an infection of muscle tissue in my right leg.
My friend was certainly shocked at my brush with death and said, “Gordon it was so good that the Lord spared you. I politely agreed but later pondered what it was from which I was spared. I wondered what was the horrible, negative thing I missed experiencing?
Well, frankly, the first and most important thing I was spared experiencing was the immediate presence of Jesus Christ in heaven. I missed the opportunity to hear the heavenly choirs sing, I was spared the opportunity to listen to Jesus speak words of welcome to me. Yes I was spared all of that and more—like seeing my mother and dad, my brother and his wife and their little girl who died at birth. I was spared seeing Moses, Elijah, David, Paul the apostle and all the other saints who have gone before. I was spared seeing the streets of gold, the sinless world of pure light. Yes, I was spared all of these things.
Should I really be glad I was spared those things? Ought I to be glad I am still here in this twisted, sinful, dark world, instead of being in heaven? Should I rejoice that I am here to go on feeling pain and sorrow and to see sorrow in the lives of so many people around me?
As Christians we need to get our perspective on things sorted out. This world is not our home. We are pilgrims, ambassadors, strangers here in this world. Our real home is in heaven and until we arrive there we are homesick for heaven. We need to have a healthy desire to depart and be with Christ which is far better (Philippians 1:23).
We have not “lost” our loved ones who have preceded us in heaven. They have merely gone to the “land that is fairer than day”. We weep, not for the departed, we weep because we were left behind! Do we “groan” to be in heaven as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:2? Or are we fearful of departing this weary old world for the one where we “will never grow old”?
Let us get our sights set on heaven and glory. Let us be more impatient of living than dying. Only then shall we live worthwhile lives here to the benefit of those around us and to the glory of God.