Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”Psalm 116:15 ESV
There’s a certain type of video that makes me cry every time I watch it. I sit there, eyes glued to the screen, as tears stream down my cheeks to my chin, falling to my shirt like water droplets falling to the ground from a rooftop after it rains.
I don’t purposely look for these videos, but somehow, I stumble upon them and can’t seem to turn my eyes away from them once I do. They are videos of military men and women surprising their loved ones by their return home.
The reactions of the surprised family members almost always vary. Some squeal in glee and jump up and down at the sight of their loved one. Others run into their arms. Yet others just stand there and cry or collapse to the floor from the weight of all their emotions. Although each response is distinct, there is a common thread that binds each clip together—the overwhelming happiness and sheer relief that these individuals express over seeing their loved one home at last, safe and sound in their loving arms and far from the dangers of war.
I’m always surprised by the weight of my own emotions while watching these clips. I have never experienced anything similar to these family members welcoming their soldier home from abroad. Nonetheless, the raw emotions expressed in these clips are too real and too vulnerable to not feel anything. Each scene is so tender. So sacred. So precious.
Although I grew up in a God-fearing, Bible believing home, I don’t remember reading the verse listed above until I was in my late twenties, but when I did, I felt very disturbed by how cruel and unusual it seemed. How could the death of anyone be precious to God?
For the rest of my quiet time that morning, I tried not to think about that verse. I wanted to pretend that it didn’t exist. It bothered me so much, however, so I decided to talk to God about it, telling Him how I felt and asking Him to help me understand how that could be. Within a few hours, it dawned on me why the death of a believer would be so precious to Him. It was because that was their homecoming. It was that initial moment when they would finally see their Savior face to face.
Perhaps our own homecoming as a believer is not much different than the military reunion videos I’ve seen. Or the long-awaited baby that is finally born. Or the couple in a long-distance relationship that makes it to their wedding day to forever be together at last. Much like these events, our homecoming is marked by such overwhelming joy and immense beauty as we are welcomed home by our Father at last. It’s such a sacred moment. So tender. So precious. It’s the moment where we will finally be safe and sound in the presence of our loving Savior and finally free from the dangers and doom of this life we’ve left behind.
Considering these ideas as of late has been a balm to my weary soul because I’ve known too many saints to pass away this year. I don’t imagine that I’ll ever be able to consider death as a precious thing. Not this side of heaven, at least. We taste the bitter side of death on this side of eternity. We are reminded through it of how much this world suffers because of the effects sin has in every crevice of this life. But knowing how anticipated and how precious the death of His saints is to God brings me comfort. It’s so touching to think of the excitement there must be when a believer enters heaven at last.
I’m so thankful to know that the individuals I’ve known had that type of homecoming, and I look forward to my own. I’m also thankful that, however painful our losses on this earth may be, we do not grieve like others who do not have hope. Our own homecoming will be a glorious reunion with the believers who have gone before us. We will see each other again.