Absent From The Body

Mar 21, 2018
by Martin Wiles

2 Corinthians 5:8 – We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. (NKJV)

Death. Funerals. They're both a part of what I experience as a full-time vocational minister. I don't enjoy either of them, but they come with the territory. Death comes to the young, the old, and all ages in between. Comforting those who have lost loved ones is challenging. Bible verses don't always do so. I've seen anger, frustration, bitterness, confusion, and relief. However and whenever death comes, an obvious separation takes place, and separations are never easy. In an attempt to comfort, I've said, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord," and I've heard it from many others. Still, knowing that a loved one is with the Lord doesn't erase the sense of loss felt by the one left behind.

Paul's life after trusting Christ was rough. As he panhandled the gospel over the known world, his enemies hounded his steps. Stonings, beatings, jailings, false accusations, desertions by friends — he faced them all. But comfort came through his belief that if they took his life, he would be at home with his Saviour.

The concept of an afterlife — as most Christians now understand it — developed slowly. In the Old Testament, the afterlife was viewed as a shadowy existence. Not until the New Testament was the concept fully developed: a blissful place called heaven for those who've accepted Christ as their Saviour, but a terrible place of torment called hell for those who reject Him.

Believing that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord is a comforting thought when we lose loved ones — if they have a relationship with Christ. We may not have them anymore, but there will come a day when we'll see them again.

Death is not the end of our existence. Life continues in one of two places. Let us each do all that we can to strive to enter eternity secure with God in heaven.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for the hope of an eternity with You when we place our faith in Your Son. Amen.

About the author:

Martin Wiles <mandmwiles@gmail.com>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen, Martin. To be absent from our bodies is indeed to be present with the Lord for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Thanks for writing this devotional. Blessings.


    Thank you, Martin, for the comforting message of “absence from the body means presence with the Lord”. It is simple and distinct for all to understand and I will utilize it when speaking at funerals. You always have thought provoking messages which I find meaningful.


    A pastor once told me this: When loved ones die and go to be with Christ then they are “in” Him, and He is in us who remain, which means … they in Him … Him in us … are always with us. I thought, and still think, what a marvellous and comforting thought!
    Blessings.


    Thank you, Martin, for another powerful devotional. As anyone who has lost someone can attest, the loss of a loved one is a profound experience, and how we live through that experience can have a profound effect on our prayer life and our faith. Your devotional is so insightful.
    Blessings.


    Greetings,
    Sorry Martin, but you have lost me on this His one.
    The “Believing… ” paragraph and the “Thought for Today” have me totally befuddled. I shared it with my wife, and neither one of us can make sense of it.
    Certainly, eternal life with Christ is far better than eternal life without Christ, but, the directive certainties we cannot ascertain. Will you please enlighten us?


    Thank you, Martin, for identifying God’s promise to us on the Bible. So many well-meaning Ministers still preach that this ‘absent from the body…’ is not Bible based – adding to the grief rather than helping to ease it.
    I, for one, will tag this devotional and scripture for future reference to help comfort those struggling with the loss of a loved one.
    Many thanks.


    This is the focus of my life in these days… to be sure my friends and loved ones know Christ so they will all be united with me in Heaven.
    Thanks Martin.

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