This week God called home a precious friend. This friend was always one of the easiest people to talk to and he always had many interesting stories. But one of the things I most appreciate about this chap was his kindness. This guy was just good with people. The kind of person who could talk to anyone. Maybe it was his years learning that skill through his job or maybe it was just a God given natural ability. But I certainly enjoyed my visits and interactions with my friend and his precious wife.
As a pastor I have had many responsibilities over lots of different things and areas. One of those greatest joys for me was the opportunity to pray with people going through all manner of different things. Being able to put my hand on a shoulder and speak to Our Father together is so important for anyone going through seasons of suffering in their life. God’s peace is often tangible and always powerful.
One of the other things that lingers in my mind this week about my friend is this – what set this brother apart from any others was instead of asking me to pray for him (and believe me with his health issues he had lots that needed praying for!) he would often come and find me and ask me what he could pray for, for me. He showed his heart and his care over and over. He would sincerely ask how I was doing, how my family was. I remember knelling in the fireside room of the church I used to serve in and hearing him pray over me and for me.
God in His sovereign will allowed this dear man to go through a long and debilitating illness. As I’ve been thinking about this dear man and the many conversations that we’ve had I thought about what he must be experiencing now, at this very moment. This dear man used to be really athletic and active but his illness meant that he struggled simply to walk. But now his body and experience is very, very different. Now he has a new body. Now he has no suffering, he’s in no more pain, he no longer battles times of frustration and he will never shed another tear again, ever.
I’ve often used this phrase when talking to people ‘heaven will be better’. And that phrase certainly seems to be so applicable this week. Often times hardship and suffering come and life feels very overwhelming. But the reality of Jesus‘ sacrifice at the cross means that this life and whatever we’re going through is at the very, very worse only temporary. One day we will have the blessings of joining my good friend and be in the very presence of God with our own new bodies.
II Corinthians 5:2 “For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling”