The Most Important Things…
As I write this column, I do so on the heels of a call from my sister telling me that my brother-in-law (his name is Ray like mine) has been given only a few more days of life. His body has been quickly ravaged by cancer, and while God controls the clock, the outcome appears to be that God will call Him home soon. He has been a hard worker all his life, looking after and caring for his family. He has been a good husband to my sister and he has been a good father and is deeply loved by his kids and grandchildren. And of course, a good brother-in-law to me. I talked with him this morning, he asked that I conduct his homegoing ceremony… it will be an honor when the time comes and here is why:
- He belongs to Christ. Just over a month ago I had the privilege of leading him in a prayer of salvation and into a relationship with God. In our conversation about eternity, he said to me “when I was young I walked down a church aisle and was even baptized, but you know I haven’t really lived my life for God. And I know I need Christ.” Interestingly, he made the decision to genuinely trust Christ prior to knowing how serious the cancer was, and that within weeks it would be inoperable and untreatable.
- His healing is about to take place…
CertainlyGod could do a miracle of physical health and extend his life here with us--- it’s certainly what we would wish. But the fact is, Goddid do a miracle that affects the outcome for my brother-in-law, and all who have put their trust in Jesus, when He conquered the grave, defeated death and enabled our own resurrection to heaven. It was the testimony that Jesus gave to Mary and Martha when, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? ” ”(John 11:25–26) And Paul said, “I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:50–53) You see there ishealing and a new eternal, imperishable body awaiting my brother-in-law.
- Heaven is his new inheritance… What is waiting is far better than anything we can imagine. Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;
believealso in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:1–2) And Revelation 22 gives us a glimpse of Heaven ahead. Heaven is not at all like the cartoonish representation where each person gets a halo, a harp anda cloud and floats about for eternity. No, it is an active place and we will worship like never before. There are streams, streets and the great city of God there, where we will serve at our highest capacity, with the greatest satisfaction imaginable, perfected in God’s presence.
For these reasons and many more, I will rejoice, not in his passing, but in what lies ahead for my brother-in-law. It is not the end, but the real beginning. And he’ll leave some lessons for each of us. Lessons like, it’s never too late to enter the Kingdom of God! My sister told
Remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new. I love being your Pastor!