"We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (II Corinthians 5:8).
This wonderful phrase of hope--"absent from the body, present with the Lord"--was the most appropriate inscription we could think of to place on the gravestone of our youngest son when he died many years ago. He was a solid Christian young man with a good Christian testimony, so we are indeed "confident" that He has been "present with the Lord" ever since sudden cancer temporarily conquered his body some 17 years ago, leaving a beautiful wife and three young children behind.
Therefore, though we all miss him deeply, we "sorrow not, even as others which have no hope" (I Thessalonians 4:13). Sadly, however, there are many others who are "without Christ, . . . having no hope, and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:12). Although Christ has paid the full redemption price on the cross to have their sins forgiven and to give them eternal life, they spurn His love and so Jesus has to say, "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).
The times of judgment are coming, when they learn that "whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:15). Right now, however, all who know Christ as their Lord and Savior can know, with Paul, that "to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).
Furthermore, when Christ returns, "them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him" (I Thessalonians 4:14). And then He will change our old body, whether in the grave or still living "that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body" and "we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (Philippians 3:21; I John 3:2). HMM