“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead with be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. ” (1 Corinthians 15:52)
As I scrolled through Facebook on July 4th, I saw many acknowledgments of our nation’s independence. People posted all sorts of pictures and relevant sayings. The American flag became a popular profile picture for the day. Some people celebrated our nation’s current state, while others expressed a longing for a return to God. Eventually, I came across a post from an old friend of mine, Austin Maxwell. Austin and I used to work for the same company. I haven’t spoken to him in a long time, but for the last week, I haven’t been able to get him or his post off my mind. It read as follows, “Today is Independence Day for our country and it is Independence Day for our son who left us 2 years ago today. While we miss him every day, we know he is in a better place and is with our Lord and Savior. We miss his hugs, his smile, his jokes, and ever present sense of mischief. He had so much ahead of him but God had other plans for him. His death while tragic I know has impacted his peers, siblings and others to take different courses and actions in life. We love you son and we will see you again soon for in a twinkling of an eye we will all be transformed. Love you Mitchell Maxwell. See you soon bud! Love Dad, Mom, Matthew, Michael and Manning.”
At the end of Austin’s post, he quoted 1 Corinthians 15:52. 1 Corinthians 15 is the most comprehensive chapter in the Bible on the resurrection. Verse 52 specifically expresses the hope we have in Christ’s return and of how, in a moment, we will be suited for heaven (from perishable bodies to imperishable bodies) and reunited with others who have gone before us. Though the hurt never ends, this hope makes our pain and suffering more bearable. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)
Mitchell Maxwell died on July 4, 2013. As I read Austin’s post last Saturday morning, I read it through the tears. In fact, over the past couple of years, I have read most of Austin’s posts about Mitchell through tears. I have also shared his posts with my family. This is our ministry to one another. We can never know what God is preparing and carrying out in our lives that He will use to minister to others. I sense Austin’s embrace of this truth. And I am thankful for his and his family’s testimony of God’s grace and faithfulness through their pain. I can only hope my response to such pain would be the same. Though we sometimes don’t understand them, God’s purposes are always good, and although this life brings hurt, His grace is greater. So Austin, thank you for sharing. Though we haven’t talked in a long time, you have certainly spoken to me this week.