I’ve been waiting for the phone to ring and a voice on the other end tell me that my loved one back home in Louisiana passed away. She has been on hospice for several months and stopped eating and drinking 10 days ago. The doctor didn’t think she’d make it this long, so we’ve been expecting that phone call all week. But, God alone knows the exact day our time on this earth will end.

As I think about Darlene and how cancer has ravaged her body, even taking her eyesight, it makes me long for the day we’ll be free from pain and sorrow and suffering.

This coming Monday, July 4, we will celebrate Independence Day, the day we gained our independence as a nation. But, in light of Darlene’s impending death, I’ve been thinking about another independence day – the day we gain our independence from this earthly life. I long for that Independence Day when we are free from these earthly bodies and the presence of sin. That will be an Independence Day beyond anything we can imagine – the day Jesus takes us home or returns for us.

John described what that eternal Independence Day will be like in Revelation 21:3-4:

God Himself will be among them and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain…”

John goes on to describe the New Jerusalem, where we will reign with Him for eternity, in Revelation 22:3-5:

“And there shall no longer be any curse, and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bondservants shall serve Him, and they shall see His face … and there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have any need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them and they shall reign forever and ever.”

I long for that Independence Day – the day I’m free from this body that is slowly deteriorating; the day I’m free from sin in me and around me; the day I don’t have to hear about another innocent murder or a terrorist attack or the death of a loved one; the day I’m set free from pain and sorrow; the day I can bow before His throne and worship Him face to face.

As we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day this fourth of July, let’s also celebrate what Christ did for us on the cross when He gave us freedom from the power and penalty of sin. And let’s look forward to the coming Independence Day when we will be free from the presence of sin – no more mourning, no more crying, no more pain.

Happy Independence Day!

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