What if it were today?
Dear BPCWAians, In scarcely more than a week, we have received news of the homegoing of yet another worshipper. While I knew of their bodily infirmities and fully expected that a day would come whereby they would no more sit together with us during our worship service, the news of their passing from this life was nevertheless still unexpected. The reason for this unexpectedness in my mind is because I can just be having normal conversations with them, and yet in a space of a few days, they are no longer with us.
Suddenness of death. As I left the hospital last week, I was expecting and even planning to visit Uncle Bernie again. So, when I received the news of his passing, it was with sadness that I realised that that was the last conversation I would have with him in this life. Simply because our life is in the hands of our Almighty God does not mean that we may not meet a sudden death. As the Giver of life, God alone knows what tomorrow (or even tonight) will bring. Jas 4:13 “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” When we hear about someone’s death, I wonder if we are keenly aware that it could be us too. While we often know this verse, we often don’t think it relates to us or to those we come into contact with.
Suddenness of the Lord’s Return. To many of us, we think that we’re still young … or at least, we deceive ourselves that we’re not so old to die. We lull ourselves into a sense of complacency. We envision ourselves studying, working, making more money, travelling. As elderlies, we envision seeing grandchildren grow up, eating more of the food we like, and finally growing old before dying. We think that that there is still yet time to be fulfilled, and the rapture will not be in our lifetime. But this thinking is dangerous and foolish. 1Thess 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. Even our Saviour said in Mt 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Christ emphasised the suddenness of His coming even before His death, telling us to “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Mt 25:13) We often deceive ourselves into thinking that oh, it has only been about 2000 years since the Lord ascended into heaven. Even the Apostles were not to think that “no, definitely Christ would not return for the next 100 years, it is too soon after His ascension.” What more for us, now that it is about 2 millenniums later? Is that too soon yet? God warns us that He will come at a day when “they were when eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage”. (Matt 24:38) In the global flood in Noah’s days, the unbelieving perished from the face of this earth. In the invisible coming of the Son of man, His children will be taken away from this earth – two will be there, and suddenly 1 shall be taken away (Mt 24:40, 41).
What if it were today? “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward” (2Pet 3:8, 9). Just as many of the signs have been fulfilled, the promised suddenness of return of the Lord will also be true. What if the Lord’s return is today, or just tomorrow, or just next week? He has already planned it. Likewise when it comes to when we will die. Will you and I live through tomorrow? What if it the number of days for our lives is up today, as Job 14:5 states, “Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass”? God has not revealed the number of your days to you. Instead, what He has revealed to you is what happens for every man after death – that we will one day stand before an omniscient and Just Judge of all the earth. All secrets will be revealed. Not one day in our life will be missed. 2Pet 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.
We will certainly miss seeing both of the worshippers who went to be with the Lord in the last couple of weeks. It is quite sobering to recall how they were just speaking with me in person, and suddenly they were called home a few days later. Are you living your life everyday ready to die or to be raptured that very day? Are you ready now to stand before our omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent LORD? In what state of spirituality would you want to meet your Lord? What if it were today? Dear worshipper, as your pastor, I hope that you will take heed to this pastoral letter, “that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Cor 11:2)
Yours in our Lord’s service