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Our PRESENT Heavenly Residence (Prelude)

There are a few things regarding perspective that I have been learning afresh, and in a deeper, more experiential way, through this veritable nightmare we call "the grieving process." I don't want to imply this is an exhaustive list, but I really believe each one of these is so VERY important, every believer who is dealing with major loss ought to consider them all very deeply:

1) Keeping our eyes on ETERNITY. As my wife has so profoundly noted, our lives here represent the tiniest of slivers compared to the vast, immeasurable expanse of ETERNITY; and yet we allow the temporal pains and pleasures of the sliver to absolutely consume the great bulk of our time, attention and energy (Romans 8:18-25; II Corinthians 4:17-18; Ecclesiastes 3:11, 14; II Timothy 1 9-10; I Thessalonians 4:17; Hebrews 12:27-28; 13:8, 14; I John 2:17; etc.).

2) Our PRESENT enjoyment of the sympathy (really, EMPATHY), help and consoling ministry of our sweet Lord in the midst of our pain (II Cor. 1:3-4; Hebrews 2:18; 4:15-16; 13:5; Psalm 23:1-6; 27:14; 40:1-3; 55:22; 61:1-3; 73:25-26; 91:1-4; Isaiah 26:3-4; 40:31; Deuteronomy 33:27; Habakkuk 3:17-19; Philippians 4:6-9; etc.)

3) Sharing our grief; thereby inviting our fellow members of the Body of Christ to come alongside and bear our burden with us. This is the Lord's expressed will for His Body (Eph. 4:15-16). Karen and I have been so pleasantly surprised by the grace, thoughtfulness and generosity that folks have shown us in this, our extreme heartache and grief. We have experienced, we believe, what is described in the inspired Word as the Biblical ideal: Romans 12:15; Galatians 6:2; I John3:16-18. Sadly, we've heard from a number of friends who've gone through terrible trials where that has not been the case (including our kids at various times) but we are exceedingly grateful and delighted to report that our experience has been so very positive overall.

4) Our future resurrection and glorification, when we will be united with the Lord forever, and reunited with all loved ones IN THE LORD (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; John 11:23-27).

5) The fact of our true Heavenly citizenship, not in the "sweet by and by," BUT IN THE HERE AND NOW -- Colossians 3:1-4; Philippians 3:20-21; Ephesians 2:6; Hebrews 3:1.

In spite of the scriptural, spiritual perspective, let me tell you the pain is still a very real and relentless, gnawing and aching agony. Can't imagine what this would be like WITHOUT my precious Saviour and His priceless Word. Oh, thank God for what we have as His beloved bairns (I John 3:1-2)!

Hope to expand more on each of these in the near future, as the Lord supplies time and strength.

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