Philippians 1:21: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

There’s more to life than our physical reality. This becomes apparent as we age. Our souls inside of us somehow know that our bodies are a temporary haven. So when our bodies give out the question emerges: where do we go from here?

The secret lies with Jesus. Life is centered around Christ. He was there at the dawn of creation when the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Jesus knows the mechanics of life because He helped build it when the universe was created.

Jesus is special because He became man and walked in our shoes. He knows Heaven intimately, and He knows what it means to live on Earth.

Humanly speaking, our connection to Heaven is complicated. Lots of things get in our way. Heaven can be both close and a million miles away. It really depends on our hearts – are they open or clouded with fear, rage, and sadness. The whole spectrum of human emotions has the potency to drown out Heaven.

The physical reality of life on Earth can be both overwhelming and mind-numbing. Jesus knows it all too well. He lived here. His address was in Israel. He lived there during a time period of extreme political unrest. And he ended up being executed by the political system of His time.

Physical death, however, could not kill Jesus. The Author of Life demonstrated that life cannot be eliminated by physical death. Life is tied to love, and love is tied to God. Jesus lived a life of love. He could not be killed because the love of God cannot be killed.

Our bodily functions will terminate at some point, nevertheless, our love continues. If we have been close to Jesus during our lifetime, we will grow closer to Him in Heaven.

Living close to Jesus is Life with a capital “L”. Dying will be gain because after our physical departure we get to meet Him face to face.

1 John 4:10: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

What is love? And the answer is: God is love.

It’s easy to forget who takes center stage, especially when that Someone is invisible to human eyes. We are so concerned with our visible surroundings that we sometimes forget God was here first. He was here when no one else was because God knows no beginning and no end.

So, His love naturally came first, and like a candle lights another candle, He lit up the universe with life and love. Some of the life forms He gave the power to procreate and with that life and love exponentially grew in leaps and bounds.

Then death entered into the equation. Death not only opposed growth of life and love, death’s intention was to swallow up life and love. Something had to be done and an epic battle begun.

Have you ever done a sneak peek when reading through a book? I’m guilty of that. I routinely read the end first and then settle back reading through the chapters of the book in chronological order. I get more out of the reading experience because now I can appreciate the narrative even more without being rushed along, anxious to find out what’s happening in the end. But for those of you who never check out the end of a book and don’t want to know the outcome of a recorded game, well – here’s a spoiler alert for you: we already know who won that epic battle I mentioned earlier. Remember death wants to take over? Well, the opposite ended up happening, and God’s future victory celebration is depicted in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 25:6-8a):

6 On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
    a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
    the best of meats and the finest of wines.
7 On this mountain he will destroy
    the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
8     he will swallow up death forever.”

Death didn’t eat life for breakfast; no! Death got swallowed up by life and love. Knowing this, we can be at peace as we live through our story. As it is, death is like a mortally wounded warrior still kicking. Yet in spite of the ongoing killings, life and love continues to grow exponentially and will do so eternally. Death on the other hand was already put in its place, and there will be a time when death is no more. That’s wonderful news!

Especially when the tides seem against us and life’s ferocious waves want to drag us down: remember who won.