October 20, 2016

With Christ

"For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart,
and to be with Christ, which is far better."  Philippians 1:23

"Believers after death are 'with Christ'.
That answers many a difficult question, which otherwise might
puzzle man's busy, restless mind.  The abode of dead saints,
their joys, their feelings, their happiness, all seem to be met
by this simple expression -- they are 'with Christ'.

I cannot enter into full explanations about the separate 
state of departed believers.  It is a high and deep subject,
such as man's mind can neither grasp nor fathom.

I know their happiness falls short of what it will be when
their bodies are raised again, in the resurrection at the last day,
and Jesus returns to earth.  Yet I know also they enjoy a blessed rest,
a rest from labour, a rest from sorrow, a rest from pain -- and a rest from sin.

But it does not follow because I cannot explain these things,
that I am not persuaded they are far happier than they ever were on earth.
I see their happiness in this very passage:
they are 'with Christ', and when I see that I see enough.

If the sheep are with the Shepherd, if the members are with the Head,
if the children of Christ's family are with Him who loved them
and carried them all the days of their pilgrimage on earth,
all must be well, all must be right.

I cannot describe what kind of place paradise is,
because I cannot understand the condition of a soul separate from the body.
But I ask no brighter view of paradise than this -- that Christ is there.

All other things in the picture which imagination draws of the
state between death and resurrection, are nothing in comparison of this.
How He is there, and in what way He is there, I know not.
Let me only see Christ in paradise when my eyes close in death, and that sufficeth me.

Well does the Psalmist say, 
'In Thy presence is fullness of joy' (Ps. 16:11)...

...It may be you do not think much about your soul.
It may be you know little of Christ as your Saviour, and have never
tasted by experience that He is precious.  And yet perhaps you hope to 
go to paradise when you die.

Surely this passage is one that should make you think,
Paradise is a place where Christ is.
Then can it be a place that you would enjoy?

It may be you are a believer, and yet tremble at the thought of the grave.
It seems cold and dreary.  You feel as if all before you 
was dark and gloomy and comfortless.  Fear not, but be encouraged
by this text.  You are going to paradise, and Christ will be there."

Quoted from "Holiness" by J. C. Ryle pages 186-87

With Love, Camille

**Photos in this post were taken just days after
our Austin's body was laid to rest in his resurrection bed,
and later in the summer after a marker had been installed.


Jenn Bowers said...

How do you send love through a comment? Here is my puny attempt. Camille, my prayer for you today is that the words you quoted will sink is deep, deeper than flesh and bones, into your very soul and spirit. That our precious, wonderful Savior will flood you with such comfort and understanding and knowledge of who He is. Prayed for you this morning and standing on the promises of who God is for you and your family. ♥

Dianna said...

I often think of you and your precious family, Camille, and pray that with each day that passes God fills you with comfort where Austin's physical absence is concerned. Your family is such a blessing. Sending hugs your way.

Down On The Farm said...

What the enemy meant for harm (taking your precious son), God has used for good. Austin is with His Savior, of that we as believers have no doubt. But God has used you to strengthen and encourage other believers. The devil must frown every time he thinks of you and how his plans for you went desperately wrong. He meant to steal your joy. The devil only cemented your love for Christ and your hold on Him. The enemy meant to crush your testimony. He only made it stronger through the peace that passes all understanding. I think of you so often, even though we've never met in person. I know that God is working in you and through you to reach so many, many people. What a blessed way to honor sweet Austin, and to bring glory and honor to God. Yes, to be absent from the body is to be present with Christ. Oh death, where is your victory!!! Praise the Lord!!!!!

Camille said...

Jenny ~ How lovely it is to hear from you, sweet friend! Thank you for your kind words and for your prayers....what a precious thing it is to belong to the family of our Great God! The book I have been quoting from is so full of truth and encouragement...I am glad it resonated with you as well. Sending big hugs to you! :)

Dianna ~ What a sweet blessing you are to my heart. Thank you for your words of encouragement and for your prayers for our family...the Lord truly is so very, very good! He has given us daily strength and grace and help for each step of this journey He has us on. I am sure it is because of the prayers of His people on our behalf. Thank you for being a lovely part of that. Big Hugs! :)

Robbin ~ Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement, and for being a faithful friend. We particularly love Psalm 139:16-17 where it says that before our days were, they were all fashioned for us by our Great and Loving God!! It is so precious to our hearts to reflect on the fact that absolutely nothing happens to us by chance or outside of God's sovereign plan for us as His children. I like to think of Spurgeon's comment that death is God's servant...used to bring His people Home to Himself. Spurgeon also mentioned that we are sometimes at odds with our Saviour when we pray for our loved ones...we wish to keep them here with us, and He wants them there with Him! What a beautiful picture that man of God painted for us. There is such comfort in resting our hearts in the fact that God orders our steps and orchestrates every detail of life for His purposes. I know that these are the things you are currently wrestling through with your precious Mom. I am praying for you all today that you would know the Lord's nearness in the valley. Psalm 46, Isaiah 26:3-4, and Isaiah 43:1-3 are wonderful passages that give comfort to our hearts in times of deep trial. May God's Word be a blessing to you in these days of looking to the Lord for grace and strength moment by moment. Big Hugs to you! :)

With Love,

Esther said...

We think of Austin often and we are thankful for words like that of the writer's that bring peace.Hugs to you precious friend!! XOXO

Katy said...

Yes! With Christ is so much better! I love how Paul says this in Philippians! To live is Christ...to die is gain! Such a beautiful truth but still so hard to grasp at times because death can seem so scary. How joy-filled your Austin is! Sending arms of love to wrap around you today Camille!

Camille said...

Esther ~ What a sweet blessing it is to know that you think of our Austin...it warms my heart that he is not forgotten. Sending you big hugs! :)

Katy ~ Thank you for your kind and encouraging words! You bless my heart. Hugs to you! :)

With Love,

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

I'm so glad you know exactly where Austin is and that he is in paradise. So hard to have a piece of you missing though and I know you look forward to the day your family will all be together again. So blessed to have this assurance. He is so faithful! May He continue to comfort you as you wait for that day. I love you, my friend!

Camille said...

Jackie ~ Yes, we are so thankful for that precious Hope we have because of our Saviour! One day...until then, may we be found following the Lord in all He calls us to. Thank you for your sweet friendship. Love and hugs to you! Camille xo