Waking up in Paradise
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 New International Version (NIV)
We may have heard the saying: "Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but no one wants to die." God's Word explains the process clearly. Those blessed to rest until Christ returns are actually the fortunate ones. We will miss them, but they will miss the trouble we who are still alive must endure while we still live in this fallen world. This is not Paradise. Those whose lives are considered prosperous sometimes forget that. Those who suffer in this life sometimes long for a better place. Jesus died and rose from the grave to go to the Father's House to get our eternal rooms ready. This world is temporary. It is not a good thing to hold on to the temporary so tightly that we miss the eternal. Everlasting life is what we really want and that will not come until Jesus returns. In the meantime, many will simply sleep.
We should celebrate the life of a loved one we lose to death but we can also celebrate the promise God has made for everlasting life. God has promised that the best is yet to come. Christ defeated death on the Cross. Death no longer has the final say. Those who go to sleep in the Lord will wake up in a place where our Sovereign Savior rules. No more tears, no more pain, no more dying. We must live like we believe this and look forward to being together with our loved ones again and with the Lord forever. Now, that will be Paradise!
There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? John 14:2 NLT