Better Things Ahead
“There are better things ahead than any we leave behind” -
John was my best friend, an enthusiastic dispenser of goodness and kindness, a fountain of perpetual joy. I called him Jolly John.
I thought that John and I would be friends forever… But he died.
Augustine wrote in his Confessions of a friend much like John who was “half of his soul.” When his friend unexpectedly died, Augustine was inconsolable, for he too thought his friendship would last forever. He had loved “one that must die, as if he would never die,” he wrote. This Augustine called, “loving a man as a (mere) man.”
Augustine’s friend became a follower of Jesus on his deathbed and Augustine followed him into faith soon after. Then he wrote in his Confessions, “He was not yet my friend (before our conversion) as afterwards…for true (friendship) it cannot be, unless You join us together…by that love which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us… Blessed is he who loves You and his friend in You… For he alone loses none who are dear to (You), for those who are dear (to You) cannot be lost.”
John is not lost to me, for I will see him again quite soon—younger, better, stronger, wiser and more joyous than ever before. And we will be friends forever.
How do I know? In the risen Christ I see the end for which I was made and the confidence to believe it. These “few atoms, blown to dust,” will form again in a better life, in which there is no parting. Dividing death will have been defeated. I will be joined forever and ever with John and all my other loved ones who are waiting for me there.
George MacDonald wrote, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, but the Lord will give back again better than ever before.” We’re all getting closer to that great day!