Before I die… I want to go home!

101 5pm church update header

Sickness and death hurt.

Last week, a member of 5pm Church unexpectedly passed away. Brian started attending 5pm at the beginning of last year and for a brief time was a member of one of our small groups. He passed away in his home of as yet unknown causes. He was a son, a brother, a friend, a doctor and a Christian. Thank God.

Most would also know of the battle that our dear sister and Global Partner Steph has with a very aggressive cancer. She remains in ICU and the doctors are working hard to find helpful ways to provide pain relief. She is a daughter, a sister, a friend, a psychologist, a missionary and a Christian. Thank God.

And further there are others in our congregation who are also dealing with cancers or other physical or mental illnesses some of which are life threatening.

Our prayer at times like these should be that God would indeed enact a miracle – and that we would see healing of sickness or the extension of life. But friends that may not be his will!

Understandably, at times like this questions are raised. Why would God allow someone so young to die? Why would God remove from the mission field someone who is willing to go where so few others could go? Why can’t illness be taken away?

One answer, is that God has a better home prepared!

Whilst that is an answer that is really hard to hear for those who are left behind, it is an answer that believers must keep in perspective at times like this.

In 1 Peter 1:1-4, the Apostle Peter writes to believers who have lost their homes! Due to persecution and suffering they have become strangers in the world, scattered throughout gentile regions. Now, their suffering is a result of their gospel witness and so it is in a different category to the suffering that those who are sick or ailing or mourning have to endure. Yet it still raises questions. Why would God allow those eager to serve him to suffer?

One answer, is that God has a better home prepared!

Peter says:

‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you’ (1 Peter 1:3-4)

Believers have a living hope – a hope that does not end with death! In the gospel of Jesus, believers have been given something that the world cannot offer, that sickness cannot remove, and that death cannot touch. It is life with the once dead, but now resurrected Jesus – it is a new birth.

And believers have an inheritance – an inheritance which never runs out! If you think about the nature of an inheritance, you will know that it only comes following death – and it is given to those who are the beneficiaries of the one who has died. Believers are written into the last will and testament of our Lord Jesus – and with it comes an eternal home.

Friends, sickness and death do hurt. Keep in focus that when believers suffer, and even when they die – there is still home.

It is by God’s great mercy, according to his foreknowledge, and by his timing, that he calls us to our future eternal home and it far surpasses our present temporary abode. And for that we praise God.

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