Sunday, October 20, 2013

Confident About Going Home

           Three close friends and her few remaining relatives gathered in the hospital room to say goodbye.  Pam had bravely fought off some painful condition, the doctors did what they could, but day after day there was no improvement.  But Pam didn’t say it was hopeless.  She’d smile and say, “One of these days I’m going home.”  
Of course, it didn’t happen.  But when Britanny leaned over to say, “Pam, the doctors say you aren’t going home”  Pam spoke a little louder, but painfully slow.  “I’m going to my Father’s House.  You know,  Heaven!”
Larry reached out his hand to touch Pam’s hand. “You have an amazing faith.”
Later that night, all alone, yet not really all alone, Pam took her last breath and died.
When Larry phoned to tell me I couldn’t help crying. But the joy was greater than the sadness.  Yes,  Pam had faith.  I wondered if I’d have that faith.  
As I pondered those Two Big Questions of life, what is dying like? And,  where do you go? I remembered something I’d read awhile ago. I knew I must write it down to help put it in some kind of sequence in my mind.  
                          Here’s how my writing began: 
Have you ever had a disappointing day?  An aggravating day?  A scary day?  Have you ever been terribly sick?  When you or I feel like complaining to everyone within sight, or even complaining to God, it might help to take a look at a woman who suffered real suffering, and who grew even deeper in faith. 

One very notable occasion was written down by Corrie ten Boom. 

     Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. "Corrie," he began gently, "when you and I go to Amsterdam—when do I give you your ticket?"
      I sniffed a few times, considering this.
     "Why, just before we get on the train."
     "Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we're going to need things, too. Don't run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need—just in time.”  

That wisdom might be just the encouragement you need, or a friend of yours will need.  And there’s a good reason to consider it now. 

The key to the positive certainty of how to relax when death is near is this: our relationship with God, our Heavenly Father. Our eternal life is not a matter of being baptized as a baby, joining some church when we grew older, or going through some religious requirements.  It’s not mumbling some memorized prayers.  Our eternal life, that life after death, is a promise of Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man comes to the Father except by Me.”  
Of course!  What a relief.  God the Creator set the rules for life and gave each of us free choice. When we turn to Him and ask forgiveness for our misbehavior, our unacceptable thoughts, words, and deeds, then God forgives our sins.  
Our relationship with God then is a new beginning.  Real prayer is honest and personal.  It means we talk to Him, and listen as He speaks out of the Bible. It’s repentance, receiving Him, trusting Him and obeying Him. This isn’t wishful thinking hope for eternity, this is what the Bible says.
But for each of us, what about those miserable experiences that hang over our memories like black storm clouds with flashing lightning?  Here is another of Corrie’s quotes, 

Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do.” 

        There may be someone who will hear what you say, or see what you do, and it will be a blessing to them.  They might turn from their fears or anger or confusion and open their hearts to God.  You might be the one who God will use in a little way, or a big way, to bring His love to someone who needs it.
Take just a few minutes to look at some of Corrie ten Boom’s notable sayings from the book, The Hiding Place. Thirty-eight quotes are given at this site  
With an Internet search you can find books about her, books she wrote, and also YouTube videos of her speaking. 
Now, there is a huge precaution to keep in mind.  Dying will happen! The Bible says that those who reject God’s way for being saved go to the Judgment when they die. This is why each person must make a clear and plain decision to accept Jesus now.   
If this sounds like a logical research project for you, then do take some time to see what you find.  It could be the start of an interesting discovery about the truth of dying and going home to Father’s House.     
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By Elaine Hardt ©2013