Billy Graham said, “The moment we take our last breath on earth, we take our first in heaven.”
Most would take odds that Graham believed that right to the end without a faith crisis. Many of us would say we agree with this great evangelist.
But when it comes to attending the funeral of friends and relatives, there is an exponential number of empty tissue boxes. How do we juxtapose the utter joy we feel for their first breath in heaven when grief seems to make breathing hard for those of us left behind?
Mourning and joy seem to allow for a very legitimate emotional ping pong game. But there is another factor that is good to face. It’s unbelief when still we "wonder."
Before we attend any wake or funeral, we go in knowing that Jesus told us that He has a place prepared for those who know Him. Still, we grieve. Jesus made it clear to the disciples and Mary Magdalene that He would defeat death. Yet, there was lots of "wonder" to be found when Jesus’ body couldn’t be found.
It seems that we wonder even as we know. I don’t think Jesus condemns us for this as it is reminiscent of the man who was honest enough to say, “I believe, help my unbelief.” When it comes to death, that statement seems to sum it up.
Billy Graham had a way of solving riddles and stomping on wonder by simply saying, “The Bible says…”
It was from this fixed position that Graham also stomped on our incessant wonder about death when he also said:
“My home is in heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.”
“Heaven is full of answers for which nobody ever bothered to ask.”
“God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he'll be there.”
It was his bedrock trust and not death that took his breath away.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: The more we believe The Bible, the less we believe our “wondering.” Scripture opens up portals to heaven on every subject - especially death.
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this [and] In their fright…the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?…Then they remembered his words.
Luke 24:3,5,8 NIV, Editor’s bracket.