“You are our Father, our Yehovah, our GOD in heaven. We thank you for the lives of those whom we have loved that have gone before us to be with You. We trust Your timing, Your will — be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
When my husband died after thousands of saints praying and believing GOD for his healing, I knew that GOD was sovereign and He had given me the ability to cope.
When a friend had an accident and was put into hospital, I prayed and so far all is well, though recovery is slow.
When an elderly lady in my home group went to bed on Thursday evening and on Friday did not wake up, I could see the hand of GOD giving her lasting peace without any suffering, lengthy illness, or pain.
GOD gives life and He restores life to Himself.
We live in society where many people think life is meaningless. Many believe we are powerless, and GOD is dead — if He ever existed at all.
This is hopelessness at its peak. We see this lie transform the hearts of innocent, inspired children into despairing, depressed, lonely young adults. What a transformation! And for what? To attempt to prove life is meaningless by removing the purpose of our lives, the core of our meaning from the thoughts of the young, and lead them instead to believe in nothing, to hope in nothing, to die sick and empty and bereft. From where I sit, this proves GOD and the consequences of a denial of Him.
The Bible says, “hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:6a) and “our hope…. is the LORD”. (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
The passing of saints
When I experience loss, I recognise the one who has passed is now with the LORD of his/her life. For those who pass who did not know Him, yes, it is grievous. But it is not so for those who have gone to be with Jesus.
We grieve their loss, but we must recognise the reality of our faith and theirs: that they have gone to be the Good Shepherd and they have joy forever. One day we will join them. That is the source of hope and joy.
The atheist may say we who believe have a crutch. Perhaps so. But what does that matter? The truth is, we have joy and they do not. Joy is our source, joy is our crutch, joy is the result of our hope. Our lives now and in the hereafter are full.
The atheist may say we live a lie. But we live by faith. And that faith offers joy in all circumstances and heaven beyond this life. It is substantiated by the Word of GOD and by our life experiences.
The atheist may say there is no future beyond this life. We say there is. We say there is both heaven and hell: we each can choose where we want to go.
The truth may be that we do have a crutch. But that crutch is there for us and it is built on truth. The life of a Jesus follower is tough, and we need a crutch sometimes, just to endure the pain. But I think it is a different pain and a different challenge to that of the atheist. The atheist may think he’s stronger than we are, for believing in nothing and carrying on. But the challenges of living our faith, whether in the relative freedom of Western society or in a society where freedom of religion does not exist, are far greater, because our faith is tested daily. It is also repeatedly rewarded, which is something that enables us to keep going. But at the end of the day, we revert to the cross: the truth that Jesus died for us and if we believe and trust in Him, we shall be saved.
Times are coming thick and fast, times of our shaking, our testing, our pruning. A study of Matthew 24 highlights the challenges those in the “last days” will face, and I believe we are in the last days.
What I am particularly aware of is the passing of other believers: sudden illnesses, sudden accidents, suddenly-s! GOD is allowing this for our strengthening. Some will pass away, and this is for the pruning of those who remain. This pruning is necessary for we do not know our total mission on earth and we do not know our mission in heaven.
Hold fast, folks; “…but you shall hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day.” (Joshua 23:8) Hold fast. And we will see the salvation of our GOD (Exodus 14:13)