At the end of the movie Gladiator, the General has died and his friend buries a token that memorializes him. As he does this he says, "I will see you again, but not yet, not yet."
To any of those friends or loved ones that pass away before us that are fellow believers in Christ, we can safely echo these sentiments. How can we have this kind of confidence? First, Jesus promised we would see Him and all of our loved ones and that is enough. Then add to that every prophecy of His first coming was fulfilled and any mention of another gathering is for certain. Jesus promised -
"My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:2-3)
And about "That Gathering"! The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write and encourage the believers in Thessolonica about the catching up of the saints or what Christians commonly refer to as - The Rapture.
"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)
This takes care of the comforting "I will see you again" phrase at the beginning. There is a second part that demands attention - "but not yet, not yet." The second half of this quote re-focuses our effort on our contribution to The King during our lifetime. Pausing to honor your friend or family member's life and remembering that Christ promises a future reunion with Him and them is natural and expected.
However, we cannot stay there. We have to move forward with what God is doing in our lives. The spirits of fear, depression and worry are very real. But I have great news - Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33) and He holds the keys to death and Hell (Revelation 1:18). As long as our heart is beating we must hear God saying, "I am not done with you yet - Not Yet."
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