The story is told of an elderly missionary couple that arrived at their home port after years of faithful service. At the dock, an ambassador and his wife who had returned on the ship with them were surrounded by a crowd. Roses were bestowed on his wife as photographers’ flashes exploded, and an attentive, admiring press and public hung on every word as he spoke of the joy of serving his government and coming home.
As the missionary couple walked unnoticed through that crowd, the wife, with hot tears streaking down her face, wondered out loud to her husband, “Why is it that we have given our whole lives to Christ and yet there is no one here to honor us and welcome us home?” Her understanding husband, reaching beyond that lonely moment, said to her, “Honey, we’re not home yet.”
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:1, 3-5a)
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.” (Psalm 39:4-5)