Where Are They?
By: Ed Welch, CHRISTIAN COUNSELING AND EDUCATION FOUNDATION (CCEF)
Published: April 13, 2016
I was out-of-town at a conference and not seen my wife for five days and counting. I missed her. At the moment, the closest I could get to her was to use my Find-My-Friends app, in which she is my only friend. The orange icon showed that she was in a small restaurant—I knew it well. Then I remembered that she was going to have breakfast with two of her friends that day.
I could imagine them sitting there, enjoying their coffee, bagels and fellowship, making a little more noise than the other patrons, laughing more, enjoying each other. The image of it was immediately comforting. I knew where she was and all was well with her.
And then my mind drifted to those I love who have died. I miss them but, in a way, I can locate them, too. They are in the presence of God and with his people. They are in the new Jerusalem. When I remember that all is well with them and they are about the business of joy, I am comforted.
Yet though they are in Christ and have entered into the shalom of God, they are also on call (Rev. 21:2-3). With us, they anticipate when heaven will come to earth and they will be joined with all of God’s people and Jesus will fully be over all things. Life will no longer be in a tug-of-war with death, and it will surround us with sweet intensity. In other words, the time is coming when their orange icon will find them on the fully perfected earth.
When I saw my wife a few days later we went out for a meal. We talked, of course, of heaven. We talked about it until hope and comfort settled in.
The occasion for these reflections is the recent dying and rising—the recent re-locating—of Rosie McElhenny, a CCEF colleague.