1 Thes. 4:17 - then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Katie Higginbotham, our sweet, little 9 year old friend, now rests in the bosom of Abraham. She passed from this earth early this morning but will never pass from the memories of those she had such a powerful impact on as she fought so courageously the last two years.
Our hearts grieve for Katie's parents and her family. It is hard to fathom the concept of a parent burying a child. Parents are supposed to be able to share in the joy of a life well lived, accomplishments secured and witness the continuation of a family legacy through grandchildren and grandchildren. Life seems to be filled with tragedy and we are never prepared to give up that which we love. We feel an emptiness and a void in our lives. Little children are precious and Jesus often showed His great love and care for them. God can fill the emptiness we feel and I pray we turn to Him and His word for comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
I pray Katie's parents understand grieving the loss of a child is a process, it begins the day your child passes and ends the day the parent joins them. There is no time limit on grief. Don't rush yourself or let others rush you.
Death is an appointment and it is certain for everyone but, in death, Christians rejoice. Death is only a termination of our earthly life, but not a termination of life. Katie LIVES! In 2 Samuel 12:23, David, a man after God's own heart, understood that, while his son would not return to him, "I shall go to him..." Katie and her family will be reunited!
Our fleshly, mortal bodies will not be what inherits heaven. Our natural body will undergo a change putting off our corruptible bodies and changing to a state of immortality. Paul describes the process in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 as he tells the church at Corinth, ”Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. “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.”
Heaven is at the very heart of true Christianity.
- 1 Pet. 1:3-5 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
The Scriptures affirm the reality of the heaven for which the Christian hopes.
- Col. 1:5 - because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.
Paul shows us we have nothing to fear in death. He states in 2 Cor. 5:1, “For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens.”
Heaven is where our Father is
- To “depart and be with Christ” is “far better” (Phil. 1:23). - Heaven is the home of God, our father - Heaven is the home of Jesus our Savior - Heaven is the home of the Holy Spirit
Heaven is the home of precious children
- Every little child that has been deprived of a full life will know the bliss of eternal life, never having to endure the pangs of temptation or the shame of sin, they will know the joy of salvation.
Heaven is the home of rest for the weary. In heaven there will be no more separation. There will be no more tearful “good byes” that force us to wait for the day of resurrection.
- 1 Cor. 15:51-57 - Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
We will go home to be with the Lord and “thus shall we always be.” It is called “everlasting life, eternal life. We will be there together, together with God…forever. In heaven there will be no more sin. You will find nothing that “defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie” (Rev. 21:27). The unrighteous, the works of the flesh and that which warrants the curse of God will be barred from its borders. No more Satan seducing us with our own desires. No more temptations, slips of weakness, shortcomings, failure. In heaven there will be no more “sadness” and “sorrow”. There will be no more battles to fight, no more burdens to bear.
- Rev. 21:4 - And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. It Is VICTORY. The saved will bask in the victory made possible by the cross (Jn. 3:16). Those overcoming will gain the victory of Jesus (Rev. 15:2). The born of God overcome the world (I Jn. 5:4). Heaven is the final victory.
In heaven there will be rest
- Rev. 14:13 - “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them”
No more death – no more bedside vigils, no more mixed feelings about not wanting a loved one to suffer but not wanting to say goodbye.
No more mourning – no more sorrow, no more loneliness No more crying over the loss of a loved one No more pain – no physical or emotional pain. To the family, we weep today because of their loss, but Katie's influence lives on in their lives. Your bright and beautiful child made a huge impact on thousands around the world.