This message could change your life if you let it. Some of this message God revealed to me when I was about 11 as I dealt with the death of my parent’s marriage the loss of both parents at home.
May God reveal to you the truth of what you hear today.
Blessed in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Ps. 116:15
In 1997, I escorted a lady and her two young daughters from the airport to CBN and them to Rock Church where they were to speak. Her name was Ruth Ruibal.
I first heard Ruth on a George Otis documentary called Transformations I. She and her husband, Julio, were pastors in Cali, Columbia. Julio was a key leader among church leaders there, working hard to build unity among pastors in that large city. But the unity Julio hoped for was not happening. The usual spirit of distrust and competitiveness among pastors kept them from praying and working together to help their very needy city which was in the iron grip of vicious drug cartels who ruled the city with money and guns.
One day in 1995, Pastor Julio was gunned down by an irate neighbor over a property dispute. As Ruth first saw her husband’s body lying crumpled in a pool of blood on the sidewalk, this verse spring into her mind: “Blessed in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints”.
No one knew at that moment could have imagined how many blessings would come from Julio’s death. His assassination provoked hundreds of pastors to lay aside their differences, jealousies and personal ambitions and work together to bring the Gospel to a city desperate for help. A great city-wide revival began in the months following that changed the city dramatically. That revival story has gone around the world through the George Otis video. That is free to watch on Youtube.
Obviously, the death of most Christians does not result in dramatic blessings like that. Just the opposite. We dread the death of loved ones and then grieve deeply for many weeks or even months after they die. So why would God call our deaths a blessed event?
In fact, it seems like a contradiction, doesn’t it? An oxymoron: Our loving God sees the death of His beloved children as a blessing. I hope I can explain this scriptural truth well enough to convince you that God has good reasons to see our deaths as a good and precious thing.
Before I give you those reasons, let me tell you about my father’s death.
On September 28 in 2019, at about 5 PM, I found my father lying on the floor in his kitchen in our home where he had lived for five years. I thought he just passed out but I soon realized that my wonderful father was dead. It was the only time in my life where felt dizzy just from emotion. Soon afterward, the Lord spoke to me and again the next day. Watch this short video about what I felt the Lord said to me.
So, God told me my dad was gloriously happy and safe. Death was a blessing to dad. But is the only reason God sees our deaths as a blessed event?
I don’t think so. I think the scriptures give hints to other, even more important reasons.
Let’s look at the death of Christians from God’s perspective in heaven. What God sees is always going to be more true than what we see, right?
First, God did not make us to live on earth very long. 80 years plus or minus 20 is a normal lifespan on earth. Of course, there was a time when people lived hundreds of years, but that stopped many centuries ago—except for Dick Clark, of course. Seriously, the poet is right: we inhabit this earth for just a short twinkle of time twixt two eternities. We are here— and poof! We are gone. Or—as Ps. 103 says:
“As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.”
So—of course , we are all going to die! Every living creature was born to die.
Secondly, God made us for heaven. Each of us has a spirit that can never die and Christians who die living faithfully for the Lord, live forever with the Lord. That has always been God‘s plan. He even says that our citizenship is in heaven, NOT on earth
The Bible is very very emphatic that earth is not our real home. God says that we are aliens and strangers here on earth. In a real sense, we are just passing through. Heaven is our home
Thirdly, God has been waiting millions of years to have us in His home in heaven. Just read Eph 1:3-5
God chose us to be His children and God has always loved us even before there was a universe.
Imagine for a moment that you are God and you’ve been waiting millions of years to be face-to-face with your beloved children the Jesus died to save. One day you bring them forth on earth through their parents. Now You are more excited. You know exactly how many days each of your children will live before they leave earth for heaven as Psalm 139 explains.
Then, you spend decades raising your kids to be strong Christians. You are preparing them to rule and reign with Jesus as a joint heir of Jesus when they get to heaven. Like any good Christian parent, You are training your children to be more like Jesus in character, power and purpose.
Finally, within 60 to 100 years, your kids come home to heaven. You are happy that they leave behind what might be called their “baby tooth body” so you can one day give them their beautiful, glorious, supernatural body that will never grow old or get sick. Just before your children finish living all the days you have granted them on earth, You and the saints and angels in heaven get very excited. Millions of years of waiting, decades of training, but now it’s time to celebrate! Your children are coming home!
Jesus is so happy to finally meet you face-to-face! You are a part of his glorious Bride, the Church Triumphant. He can’t wait to show you your personal home He has prepared for you and tell you about the adventures you will have being His joint heir of all heaven. The saints and angels get to cheer your arrival. You made it! Family members in heaven are beside themselves to see you again.
In a word, the death of a Christian has to one of the most exciting things that happens in heaven for God and for all Who live in heaven.
So this is why the death of a Christian is precious in the sight of the Lord. God sees and knows what death really is. For a faithful follower of Jesus, death is the doorway to the greatest life, the most awesome adventures and deepest loves humans could ever know.
About 15 years ago, a native named Mincaye who used to live in the jungles of Ecuador prayed for me at the chapel service at CBN. He had been one of the warriors of the Waodani tribe who killed five young American men in 1956 when they attempted to contact in the tribe to win them to Jesus. Steve Saint’s father died that day as one of the five. Steve brought Mincaye to CBN.
The death of those five men became known throughout the world and several books have been written about them by Elizabeth Elliot and others. One famous book is called Through Gates of Splendor. Incredibly, after the natives killed her husband and the four others, Elizabeth Elliott and another white woman moved into the village of the killers olive with them. Today, almost everyone in that tribe loves the God the five men loved.
Mincaye was the very man who killed Steve’s father, Nate Saint. Steve was just a little boy when his father was killed but, but by God’s amazing grace, Steve grew up to become a close friend of Mincaye. So close, that Steve called Mincaye grandfather for the last 40 years.
Steve spoke that day sat CBN about this famous story that had never been known before. Recent interviews with members of the tribe who had participated in the slaughter of the Americans revealed that just after the Americans were killed they saw bright white lights overhead in the trees. Singing was coming from the lights. That scared the warriors. They knew they had done something wrong at that moment.
Folks, it does not take a lot of faith to believe that God’s angels were rejoicing over the death of those five, brave missionaries. From heaven’s perspective, they knew that the blood of those martyrs was going to open the door into the hearts of that tribe for the Gospel. And it did. What an honor to die that way!
How precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. God‘s angels were there that day, on that bloody beach in the middle of a vast jungle. Those angels were sent there to escort the spirits of us five missionaries home to heaven to receive a tumultuous welcome, a victorious homecoming for five men who gave their lives for the gospel of Jesus.
In closing, Ginger Boetcher did not die in a faraway jungle but I am totally sure that angels were singing and rejoicing as they escorted this precious daughter of God home to heaven—to be with her Heavenly Father who has waited millions of years to meet her face-to-face.
Dear friends, God certainly approves of our grief and our tears for Ginger. Jesus himself wept as he met the family of Lazarus after his first death. He understands how we dread to lose people that we love. But I think in the larger biblical sense, God sees death more truly for what it means for Him and the loved one in eternity.
I wonder what Ginger would say to us if she could speak to us today.
You knew her better than I did but what little I know about her makes me believe that she would shout something like:
“It’s all true. It’s more than amazing. God is more than amazing. Don’t be afraid of death. Death is just the beginning of the most incredible life you could ever imagine. I miss you all a little but there is so much joy and peace and wonderful things here in heaven that my heart overflows with gratitude and joy. And the Lord assures me that I have not even begun to experience all that Heaven has. I can’t wait.
So don’t waste a lot of time grieving for me. I appreciate the tears and I appreciate the love you have shown my dear husband but keep your eyes on the Lord. Live for Him. You were made for heaven. You only have a short time before all of you will be here with me. Make your life count for God. You will never regret living for Him even if it cost you everything.
I am waiting for each one of you to come and join me. If you could only see me now. I have never been more full of life and love and laughter. Heaven will blow your mind.”
So, friends, that’s what I wanted to say to you today about the blessings of death. Yes, grieve but remember that God looks forward to your death on earth so that you can receive His royal welcome into the heavenly home that Jesus has prepared for you and be loved by the God Who loved you long before the galaxies existed.
May these words bring you comfort and joy and strength as you go forward with your life on your journey home to heaven.
(A messge given just after the wide of a dear pastor lost hi wife of 50 years, Ginger)