“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15
Over the past few days our church family has suffered the loss of two dear brothers in the Lord, Glen Ott and Bob Kauffman. In some ways, their deaths were not entirely a surprise. Glen was suffering from kidney failure and Bob had Covid-19, along with a host of other underlying issues. However, it was still a shock and grief to hear of their deaths, especially for their families. They will be dearly missed.
Scripture talks about a “grief without hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). That kind of grief has to do with loved ones who enter eternity apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ, which is devastating and heart wrenching to say the least. On the other hand, there is “grief with hope.” There is still sorrow, sadness, tears, and all the rest, but there is tremendous hope that transcends all of that and makes the loss much more bearable.
Without question, these two men loved the Lord and sought to make Him known. The Bible says, “prepare to meet your God” (Amos 4:12). I am confident that these men were in fact ready for eternity which is why we can celebrate their home-going even as we mourn their deaths.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we don’t know what tomorrow will bring (James 4:14). But as Christians we can have absolute certainty that when we die (be it tomorrow, next week, next year, etc.) that God has an inheritance kept in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4, John 14:2-3). This is reason to celebrate! We can rejoice in God’s salvation (Psalm 13:5, 20:5) and prepare ourselves for the day we see Jesus face to face (1 John 3:2).
Our hearts are heavy right now, especially those who were closest to Glen and Bob, but we can’t help but celebrate and be glad. Having run well the race set before them (Hebrews 12:1), they are now with their Lord and Master. What could be better?