1 Corinthians 15:1, 3-4: “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Death runs in the family. Everybody dies.

There are all kinds of issues arising from death. One is separation anxiety. Separation is a trauma we’re all dealing with at some point in our lives. For me it happened for the first time when I lost my Dad through divorce. When my parents divorced I was 2 years old. I couldn’t voice my confusion back then. If I could have, I would have said something like this: “Dad why did you leave me? I thought you loved me!”

My Dad really didn’t leave me. He was divorced from me.

Death does the same thing. Death divorces people from us.

Death divorced Jesus from the Trinity. For a while the Trinity was reduced to two. Talking about trauma here: It is one thing when families are torn apart; it is quite another when the Trinity is torn apart. Here is what Jesus prayed when He went through the agony of separation (Psalm 22:1):

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

God did not leave Jesus. He was divorced from Him.

The pain of separation has scarred all of creation. “It is finished” Jesus prayed shortly before His physical death on the cross. What is finished? Is Jesus finished? Obviously not, otherwise His last word would have been: “I am finished.” How about: Death is finished? Well, He is about to die, so that can’t be it. How about: My punishment is finished? Still, this doesn’t ring true because his punishment was the death sentence, and He was not dead yet. How about: My mission is accomplished? I believe that with all of my heart. Jesus finished what He was set out to do.

Our souls are housed in our bodies during our lifetime on Earth. Death eventually separates the two. A soul without a home is the greatest agony imaginable. Rootless, restless, hopeless, empty and lost our souls roam without a home. Divorced from God, our souls are drifting gypsies. But praise the Lord! – Jesus has saved us from homelessness. He is currently in heaven preparing a place for us.

God hates divorce and did everything in His power to overcome separation that goes beyond death. Reunited with our Maker, we beat futility. Life on Earth is not business as usual with Jesus in our midst. We get a foretaste of eternal life while we’re still here.

Yes, Jesus is in our midst because His expiration on the cross lasted less than three days. On the third day He rose from the grave. His mission is indeed accomplished. We now have a place to go to, and Heaven is waiting for us to come home.

John 14:23: “Jesus replied, ‘All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.’”

We have just gone through the logistics of moving: breaking up our old domicile, packing and unpacking, and making a new home at a different location. This comes with establishing new stomping ground – finding the new neighborhood café, the nearest gas station, the most reasonably priced dry cleaner. We have been hanging pictures on our walls and planting flowers around our front porch – and believe it or not: we’re not even close to the finish line! There are still many more projects to come!

I believe similar logistics happen on a soul level when the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit make their appearance. God moving in is no minor event, and establishing His stomping ground is no one-day-affair. The reality of our hearts’ domicile is that just like any other fixer-upper that we’ve seen, it will take time and patience to transform our hearts into suitable living space for the Trinity. We are a work-in-progress, and on that note, I think God showed a good sense of humor when His Son Jesus was born into a Carpenter’s family. Ask anybody with woodworking abilities. If you have a Carpenter’s background, then you are in good shape working on any fixer upper projects coming your way. Following is an excerpt of a Construction Carpenter job description on America’s Job exchange, which happens to be of great metaphorical use:

“Job Summary

Responsible for designing, building, installing, and repairing structures, fixtures, furniture, and other items using different types of materials including wood and steel.

Primary responsibilities

  • Remodel homes and businesses.
  • Work with materials such as wood, plastic, fiberglass, or drywall.
  • Utilize chisels, planes, saws, drills, and sanders to repair and erect structures.
  • Join materials with nails, screws, staples, or adhesives.
  • Install cabinets, partitions, doors, and windows.
  • Build stairs, mantles, and furniture.”

Just picture yourself to be a run-down house the Lord wants to renovate. God is known to renew His children from the inside out, as Paul wrote in one of his letters (2 Corinthians 4:16):

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”

The more God is welcome and settled in with us, the more we will get to know Him personally. He is so much more than what people in general perceive as the God of the Ten Commandments. “You shall” and “you shall not” pretty much portrays God in black and white, while letting Him move in adds color and depth to His profile. Just as the light of the rising Sun immerses the world in color, so our life will become more and more colorful in the presence of God.

“This old house once rang with laughter
This old house heard many shouts
Now it trembles in the darkness
When the lightning walks about

Ain’t got time to oil the hinges
Nor to mend no window pane
Ain’t gonna need this house no longer
I’m gettin’ ready to meet the saints”
(by Stuart Hamblen)