I heard it again at a funeral this year. In fact, I hear it nearly every time I attend a funeral where the second member of an elderly couple passes away. “He’s with Mom again,” or “She’s with Daddy again.”
It comforts our grief to turn our imaginations heavenward and see in our hearts this dear couple, who modeled marital bliss for us, experiencing that bliss again: together forever! To our aching grieving minds, this gives us peace.
But Jesus declares in Mark 12:25, “When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Also in Matthew 22:30 and Luke 20:35). How can this be so? Surely, Grandma and Grandpa are walking arm in arm along the streets of gold. If it were not so, it could not be heaven…could it?
But that sentimental notion, while noble and comforting, falls short of what heaven truly is.
On earth, God gives us spouses, especially committed loving spouses, as a foretaste of the unconditional, committed love He has for us. But marriage, while the highest form of love on this earth, is just a toe in the water of the ocean of love that awaits us in heaven. Those old relationships on earth will fade into insignificance when we enter his presence. As Revelation 22:4 puts it, “They will see His face.”
Let that soak in.
My Grandma and Grandpa, fiercely committed to each other and deeply in love for over 50 years, arrived in heaven (years apart) but the fierce love they had for each other was just a mere dim candle compared to the sun-blaze of love they experienced when they saw His face. That face, before whom prophets fell prostrate “as though dead,” smiled upon them and said, “Welcome, good and faithful servant.” At that moment, they stopped being “Glenn and Wanda; a married couple” and became Glenn and Wanda, glorified worshipers bowing at the feet of their Savior and single-hearted in their devotion to their Creator.
Revelation 7:9-10 describes it like this. “9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
So if you want to stretch your imagination heavenward and picture what Grandma and Grandpa are doing right now, there’s your answer! They’re not cooing over each other, they’re robed in shining white and crying out praises to God. Together forever!
And to be honest, as they worship God they’re happier and more filled with love then they ever were on earth. We will join them soon.
As you look forward to 2018, may God give you a foretaste of His presence that transcends everything on this earth, even the bond of marriage.