“But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy.”— Isaiah 26:19
I attended a funeral for an artist friend this past weekend.
As the priest shared snippets of his life and celebrated both his life on earth and his new life in Christ, he said something that caught my attention. The priest was talking about death and his definition of it. He said, “Death means ‘to be surprised by joy'”.
To be surprised by joy.
What an interesting definition. Compared to many people’s definition (the end of life, nothingness, pain and sorrow, separation, etc….), this definition stands out. The priest described the undefinable joy we will have when God comes to us from heaven and says, “It is time.” The indescribable joy we will have when He guides us into heaven into eternal life with Him.
I tell my kids that “death is just a doorway into new life.” It’s a door. One you must walk through. And the new life is amazing!
I think of the many times in life that I am surprised by joy. It can be in the little things, even nature… I saw three muskrats playing along a lake shoreline the other day. Chasing each other, swimming around, their beady little eyes sticking out of the water….I felt joy. A beautiful sunset. An eagle soaring ahead. Little song birds making throaty warbles in the bushes along the trail. The little things bring me joy.
Joy is all around us, a reminder that there is so much more to this life than what we can see with our physical eyes. There is a joy awaiting us that can only be experienced in a new body and with our spirit.
Where might you be surprised by joy today? Look around. Where is God lifting the curtain of heaven and allowing you to see a slice of it? I will keep my eyes open and I hope you will too!
Prayer—-“God of joy, thank you for all the moments you give me where I can see or experience a slice of heaven. Calm my heart when I worry about death, knowing that I will be surprised by your joy everlasting. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”