We need no lectures proving the anguish of multiplied millions who have lived in each generation and do now live on the planet.  

Still, we’ve seen and heard and experienced more than anguish. We’ve seen two strangers meet and after a while become lovers and live for one another and who would die for one another in a heartbeat if that was ever needed. In the meantime they do live for one another until it’s time for one of them to lay down his or her tired body. The earth has witnessed that also, millions of times in every generation. It has seen parents with children, friends with friends experiencing such joy in one another’s presence that, for many people heaven doesn’t seem so heavenly if it means such a radical separation that’s underscored by old graveyards where the dead have lain for hundreds of years and the names on the stones of so many, moss-covered and worn away; no longer readable. Who now knows or cares?

That’s the ‘promise’ of ‘Life in the flesh.’ The cemeteries whisper, “This is how it all ends. This is as good as it gets.”

We will certainly die IN the flesh but the Lord Jesus wants us to die TO it. To cling to, to kill for and to work to hold on to life in the flesh that dismisses God is to insist on corruption and the graveyard; it’s to insist on perishing forever and missing LIFE, glorious beyond our imagining. 

To die to the flesh is to die to a mortal mode of living!

Jesus offers to undo the curse we brought on ourselves when God said, “eat and you’ll die!”

Once we rejected His expressed will the food He provided (Gen 2:16-17) to sustain us (including the Tree of Life) no longer sustained our mortal life and Death came our way.

2 Cor 4 & 5; 10:3……and Death rejecting what God offers to me, to you, to us and to our beloved ones He alone has everlastingly triumphed over all the above. Tombs, mausoleums, centuries-old and desolate graveyards, end of loving relationships, noble dreams and selfless heroism.

We still hear teaching and preaching about heaven that turns it into an everlasting and non-stop prayer meeting, hymn-singing or harp-playing. The intention is to honor God of course but it isn’t the ‘heaven’ people can be thrilled about and it’s questionable that it honors God if it gives the impression that He is something like a vain man or woman who created us so He would have a human race to ceaselessly and everlastingly tell Him how wonderful He is. That description of ‘heaven’ makes it seems to be a very poor substitute for a life of love and adventure here. No wonder we have an abundance of poems with this 1913 message in song: The Sunshine of Your Smile; it illustrates the point well.

Dear face that holds so sweet a smile for me
Were you not mine, how dark this world would be
I know no light above that could replace
Love’s radiant sunshine in your lovely face.

Give me a smile, the love-light in your eyes
Life could not hold a fairer paradise
Give me the right to love you all the while
My world forever, the sunshine of your smile.

Shadows may fall across the land and sea
Sunshine from all the world may hidden be
But I shall see no clouds across the sun
Your smile shall light my life till life is done.

Give me a smile, the love-light in your eyes
Life could not hold a fairerer paradise
Give me the right to love you all the while
My world forever, the sunshine of your smile
My world forever, the sunshine of your smile

            Leonard Cooke lyrics: music by Lilian Ray

But a day is coming when God comes, sits down beside you and you know it’s Him and He says, “I have a gift I want to give you.” LIFE. A life of love, mystery, adventure and glory; life permanently free of disease, injustice, tyranny and Sin; life wonderful beyond what you can imagine (Eph.3:18-20), How does that sound to you?”

You say to Him, “If that’s what you think of it how could I not want it? Yes, I’d love it!”  

God says, “You make Me very happy. You will have to come with me so you will need to say goodbye to this world and everyone in it for a while.”

And you say, “Oh, but I would have to leave (and you list all the people closer to you than your own heart)……… I don’t want to do that. I want to keep the life I now have. I would be losing……”

And God says, “Oh no! You wouldn’t be losing anyone who wants to enjoy that LIFE along with you. They would come too; maybe a day later or a decade later but they’d meet you where I’m taking you. Later I’d be talking to them the way I’m talking to you now. And if you were listening and watching me talking to them you’d feel like shouting, ‘Don’t worry about anything. You’ll love it here!’”

You say, “Yes but it it would break their heart if I left them.”

And then God says, “That’s true but that’s the price people pay for the privilege of loving someone and being loved by someone so deeply. Heartbreak like that is no little thing but it’s a beautiful thing too and I see it countless times but I never get tired of seeing it. The good news is the heartache doesn’t last forever especially when those that weep know they’re going to see you soon”

Then you turn to your beloved ones and say, “You’ll come won’t you?” And they say, “With you there we wouldn’t miss it for anything and since we’re all going to be there together with the Savior—how could we not follow you?”

Then you say to God, “I don’t suppose I can go without leaving this body behind, is that right?”

And God says, “This has been a good body for life here but the one you’ll be getting by and by will take your breath away. What you now wear can’t inherit what you’re going to be getting. There’s too much LIFE and adventure coming your way and this mortal model of yours couldn’t hold it.”

And you say, “What’s it going to look and feel like?”

And God says, “That’s a surprise. All you need to know is that the one I’m going to give you will be one like the one My Son has and He loves it (Philippians 3:21;
1 John 3:2). Trust me, you’ll be mesmerized and then happier, more alive than you ever have been or could be. So, you ready to go?”

And you take His hand and leaving this “life in the flesh” behind you go to meet the Lord Jesus (Philippians 1:21-24, see also 2 Corinthians 4:8—5:8) and wait happily for the Grand Reunion (1Thessalonians 4:13-18).

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About Jim McGuiggan

Jim McGuiggan was Ethel's husband for fifty-three years. They have three children and eight grandchildren. Ethel went to be with Christ on Easter Sunday, 2009 at the close of a gallant life. He has written some books including: Celebrating the Wrath of God; Heading Home with God; Life on the Ash Heap; Jesus: Hero of Thy Soul; The God of the Towel, The Scarlet Letter; and The Dragon Slayer.


  1. His Covenant Child

    Ah Jim, I’ve been brought to tears yet again… so much needed this little bit of encouragement along the way; thank you! It is good to hear a recent (I think it is recent) direct personal message from you again. I was beginning to wonder if this goofy pandemic was messing with you or had, somehow, managed to silence you. So good to “hear” your voice again!


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