In June I wrote about my friend Karen, a former coworker who had been dealing with cancer. Last week I went to her memorial service, a true celebration of a remarkable woman who loved her God, and who also loved and served people the Lord sent her way.
During the service I recalled a peculiar Bible passage: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). At first glance, this verse makes God seem like a sadist. How could He enjoy seeing people die? As I’ve pondered it over the years, however, this declaration seems true – and right.
Imagine a baby in the womb: Climate-controlled, continuous food supply, the soothing cadence of mother’s heartbeat. What a life! For the baby, that’s all the world there is. Suddenly things begin to change. The cozy living chamber contracts, pushing the little one toward a narrow opening and into another, unknown world.
If the infant could choose at that moment, it certainly would say, “No, thanks. I’m fine right here.” But the womb world, as comfortable as it’s been, isn’t all there is – far from it. There’s a vast, unimaginable, wondrous world it’s about to encounter for the first time. Soon this new world will be all it knows – or wants.
I believe it’s the same for God’s children. We cling to this visible, tangible, temporal, finite world like it’s all there is, but one day God will introduce us to a world we could never imagine. In 1 Corinthians 2:9 we read, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”
That's why the death of His saints is precious to God: He has prepared something wonderful, far beyond comprehension, for each of us. Like a parent eager to unveil a special, unexpected surprise for a beloved child, the Lord waits in great anticipation to say, “Welcome, child. Look what I have for you!”
During Karen’s memorial service, the pastor noted one of her last words, with eyes wide open and looking up, was a gentle, “Wow!” Who knows what she saw? I don’t. But I’m convinced with every fiber of my being that for each of us who are God’s children, trusting in “the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13), a “Wow!” awaits us, too.