As I write this, the world is overcome by uncertainty and fearing the future. Some fear for their financial future; others, for their health. Some fear for their loved ones; others, for themselves. It’s quite remarkable, isn’t it, what the spread of a microscopic virus can do to alter the landscape?
Whatever our situation at this time, and whether or not COVID-19 wreaks havoc on our lives or not, one thing is certain: we all will die. In fact, we are all — each and every one of us — DESTINED to die, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
And yet, whatever our situation, the people of Jesus possess in them a hope that transcends the awful, ubiquitous reality of a mortality ratio of 1:1. At our church, this hope is echoed loudly in the lyric of a hymn we cherish. Regarding the New Heaven and New Earth that is ahead of us, we sing:
“No chilling words nor poisonous breath
can reach that healthful shore, (where)
sickness, sorrow, pain, and death
are felt and feared no more.”
“Felt no more” sounds wonderful when we’re talking about sickness, sorrow, pain, and death, does it not? This, of course, is an impossibility in the world in which we now live. However, based on the great and precious promise of God, there is even now — this very moment — the possibility of “fear(ing) no more” when it comes to sickness, sorrow, pain, and death.
We are told that at the end of days, when King Jesus returns for a second and final time, he will make all things new. Our future, from that point forward, will represent an utter, complete, everlasting reversal of sickness, sorrow, pain, and death. As John, the beloved disciple, has written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “There will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away, and everything made new” (see Revelation 21:1-5 for the full accounting of what awaits us).
As the pastor of a marvelous church that is filled with people — including many elderly, “Greatest Generation” people who make up about 15% of our fellowship — as well as other, younger saints who somewhere along the way received news of a terminal diagnosis, who have accessed these promises of God that cast out fearing the future.
What follows is a brief telling of how those afflicted saints, young and old, are made to FEEL some of the worst of what a fallen world throws at people, but without FEARING the future because of the perfect love that holds them. I hope that their stories and perspectives offer you similar hope as they do to me.