Jesus Is Our Returning Savior
Open Your Bible
1 Corinthians 15:35-58, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Corrie Ten Boom’s memoir The Hiding Place chronicles the Nazi occupation of Holland during WWII. Under constant watch, Corrie and her family decided to form an underground network of resistance, hiding Jewish men, women, and children in homes across Holland, including their own. They knew the day would come when the Nazis would learn the truth—and soon that day came. For their crimes against Germany, Corrie and Betsey were both sent to Ravensbruck Concentration camp, where their bodies deteriorated under the weight of overwork, malnutrition, and disease.
If that were the end of the story, it would be a tragedy. But day after day, in the flea-ridden dormitory that the guards would not enter for fear of being infested themselves, Corrie and Betsey read the Bible aloud for all the imprisoned women of Bunk 28. Holding daily services, they learned that the Word of God speaks boldly, even in—perhaps especially in—the darkest circumstances. And while their health faltered, their hearts grew more convinced that they would be together with God when the ordeal was over, whether through death or through survival.
Our temporary bodies hold eternal souls. My body is susceptible to illness, breakdown, injury, paralysis, and even death. But my soul is eternal. My body might stop working all together; organs might fail, and my womb may never function as it was designed to function. That is okay with me. Because my body is not me. It is a temporary home for God to do His work in the world. Even if that work is in a place I do not recognize. Even if that work is in a concentration camp.
Death—real death—is not physical. Spiritual death is eternal separation from God, and that kind of death has been swallowed up forever, because our Lord Jesus Christ took the penalty for our sin as He hung on the cross. Now, “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54). So while our bodies might deteriorate, our souls will grow closer to our Creator. And one day, when Christ returns with a shout (1 Thessalonians 4:16), we will be raised to be like Him, bearing the image of heaven. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye… we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:50–52).
I pray that no one will ever experience anything as cruel and inhumane as a Nazi concentration camp. But all of us will at some point experience the impact of disease, death, and disappointment on this side of eternity. Those earthly losses are deep, and our heavenly Father grieves them with us. Yet in that grief, He invites us to shift our gaze to Him, to trust that He has plans that far exceed what we can see in this world, beyond the physical realm.
When my time comes to shed this shell, I pray that God will give me the courage to believe the truth; I lose nothing when I lose a human body, because I gain everything in Him. For the believer, Christ’s resurrection has secured eternity with Him. One day soon, He will return for us, and we will always be with Him, forevermore (1 Thessalonians 4:17). “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Corinthians 15:57).