A very dear friend of mine died last week. The viewing was Monday and I was able to go. I didn’t want to go, it is so hard to say goodbye. I knew I should though.
As I stood in the line waiting to walk past the casket, I noticed the beautiful flowers, the pictures of my friend, the family chatting with loved ones. It was beautiful. Strangely enough, I noticed how handsome my friend was, in pictures. I never noticed before. I guess some of us are obtuse that way.
As I got closer, I caught glimpses of the body that lay there. I then started trying to get a better look at the same time as I was trying not to look. The person I saw lying there did not look like my friend.
You see, the person I knew was not a smiley type person. He just had the power to make you smile. He was not bubbly or exuberant, he just made you feel warm and loved by his presence. He noticed things and remembered things that let you know you were cared for.
I found none of those things in the visage resting before me. That somber, lifeless countenance did not compare with the friend I knew and loved.
Inside my heart I cried, “that’s not him.”
Now I know it was his body. I said my goodbyes and knew that I would not see my friend again this side of eternity. But I was right, too. That body was not him. This flesh and bone that clothes me, is not me. With Jesus, I am eternal. In Him, clothed in His righteousness, I am holy. We who call on His name become something more, something greater than our outer form.
In this, we have hope. Hope that is greater than our sorrow, greater than the unknown, greater than anything we face.