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Not forgotten

Death removes us from the world of the living.  Family and friends remain and we leave.  Their lives continue while ours is over.  We can gain some consolation if we know we’ll be remembered—that we’ll “live on” in the lives of others.

To be remembered is important. Memorial services, Memorial Day, and the Lord’s Supper all speak to the value we place on remembrance.  Whatever else is true of those who had lost their lives due to holding to the word of God and the testimony about Jesus (Revelation 6:9-11), they have not been forgotten.

They’re given a robe (3:4), and told to wait a little longer.  Their suffering and death have been noted by God and those responsible will answer to Him.  In essence, what they are being told is that they are being remembered.  God hasn’t forgotten them.

The writer of Hebrews speaks to this concern when he writes, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them,” (6:10). We’re told that God “remembered” Noah after he and his family had been in the ark for 150 days (Genesis 8:1). Appearances may suggest otherwise, but they are always wrong.  God remembers.

But He does more than remember those who are no longer with us, the time of their transition is important to Him as well.  “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants,” (Psalm 116:13).  In the story of Lazarus and the rich man, Lazarus is carried by angels to paradise (Luke 16:22).  All of it matters to him and there’s nothing about leaving this life that isn’t in His hands. 

Death changes nothing concerning God’s commitment toward us.  He remembers us and acts for us in death just as He does in life.  This is brought out by the fact that we’re not told of others pleading for justice for those slain—it’s the dead themselves who speak. And they are heard! For followers of the Lamb, there is hope in life and hope in death.

There are lots of questions we have about death and dying that we have no answers for.  I suppose it would be nice to know those things but then too, they might distract us from the few big truths we are given.  The biggest truth is that Jesus holds the keys to death and Hades (1:18). Everything else is details.

Write it down: we are not forgotten!

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