They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Revelation 6:10
There is a good–better–best pattern to the Christian life. To be in Christ is good. And when life in this world is at its worst, if you are in Christ, you are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. To be with Christ is better by far than anything you’ve ever known, can know or will know in this world. But even for those who are in heaven now, the best is yet to come.
We see this very clearly in Revelation 6: “I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne” (Rev. 6:9). Here are souls of believers in the presence of Jesus and they are experiencing the better. Yet these believers are crying out to God, “How long?” (6:10).
How long until the evils of this present world and the sufferings of God’s people are brought to an end? How long until King Jesus returns in glory and we get to come with him? They are told that they must wait (6:11).
Herman Bavinck, the great Dutch theologian, has a fascinating comment on the experience of believers in the presence of Jesus: “They have a past which they remember, a present in which they live, and a future which they are approaching.”
Christ will come in glory. Our loved ones who have gone ahead will be with him, and we will be forever with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:17).
As you think about those who have died in Christ, remember that the coming of Jesus is getting nearer.