1 Thessalonians 416 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.
Mind you, I love my kids. I love my wife. My life has been exceptionally blessed with so many riches that it blows my mind. I am sure that when many look at my life, they would change places with me in a heartbeat. And if I had a life to pick to live on this earth, I would gladly pick this one over again.
During, a recent business trip, my companions and I were talking about what we would do differently in life. I stated that I would want to meet my wife earlier. They asked when I met her. When I said that I met her as a freshman in college, they laughed at me.
"How much earlier did you want her?" one asked.
The point is that I couldn't ask for much more.
So with all of this, I have a longing, a desire for heaven. CS Lewis called this joy. It is a gladness and yet an ache for something more. For something that you almost remember like a song that is sweet and desired, yet you just can't quite remember the tune.
The section from 1 Thess 4:16,17 makes me feel this ache. I can almost feel the event in my bones. I am in the grave, or my house, or several years down the road. For me, when I read this, I can almost remember the event. I know that it happens in the future of what I am writing now, but somehow, when I read the verses, I can feel a part of my soul that is not bounded by time feeling the event. I can't feel my time beyond this, but I can feel the pull of this scripture painting a picture that my soul knows is happening, will happen, and has happened in a future day.
In a second, all time slows down and the people stop around me.
Then I hear a sound. A sound that I hear but a sound that is not coming to my ears. Then with all my soul, I realize that the sound is Gabriel's horn. I feel the pull, and I leave this shell and something wonderful happens. As Paul calls out, "and we will be changed."