Anglican Diocese of Armidale

The Anglican Diocese of Armidale exists to glorify God by introducing people to Jesus and helping them home to heaven.

 

In Focus

Jesus, the Assurance of Heaven

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

I can think of times when a reintroduction to Jesus Christ is the most valuable introduction known to humanity. For example, it is almost impossible to comprehend the pain associated with the loss of one child but imagine losing three in a single moment of human irresponsibility. That was the experience of the Abdallah family. It is early days for this family as they travel forward with their grief but while some would question why God allowed this to happen, this family turned to God as the sources of their hope.

Some might ask, “If God is so good why does God allow this evil?” That would be a reasonable question if we lived in a world where people make reasonable and responsible decisions. It is easy to put God in the dock. But when God gives people a brain, offers them wisdom, warns of dangers and the consequences of foolishness, the inconvenient truth is that God has given every protection that the irresponsible ignore to their peril.  Of course this puts us in the dock and the gavel in God’s hand.

I understand the dismissive nature of this question by those who have no time for God but if you ask the question you must not be so simplistic as to not ask other equally important and challenging questions: If God is so good why does he offer us hope that goes beyond our negligence of Him? If God is omniscient (ie. all knowing) why would he send His Son to become another fatality of our foolishness? If God is omnipotent (ie. all powerful) why doesn’t he, as my friend use to ask, just zot us off?  “Zot”, that’s a technical word for getting rid of us.

The Telegraph columnist Claire Harvey honoured the Abdullah family and their Christian faith in ways rarely seen in the press. She began her article, “You’d have to be stupid to believe in heaven. That’s the atheist’s assessment of people with faith: basically they’re simple people clinging to a low-fi medieval spirituality because they’re not smart or brave enough to face the thought we’re all alone.”

In her article Claire Harvey stands the reader in the morgue with the Abdullah’s, as mother, Leila, prayed confidently that her children were safe and happy in the embrace of a benevolent God who holds out the promise of a family reunion beyond the grave.

It’s the journalistic vulnerability to faith that I found disarmingly honest and worthy of our consideration. Claire Harvey, speaking about God, reflects, “Let’s say heaven doesn’t exist and Mr and Mrs Abdullah persist in the delusion. They’ll cling to comfort that turns out to be false. And when they die, nothing. So what’s smarter? To have lived with false hope, or to have snuffed it out and accepted the far bleaker truth? I know which I’d prefer as a lifestyle: the one that allows for some glimmer of light. Perhaps in fact, strong faith is the pinnacle of human intelligence; not its nadir. Faith doesn’t make Heaven real. But if I were in the Abdullah’s circumstances, I hope I’d have the intellectual courage to see goodness where others might find only a void to fill with hatred.”

The Christian is thoroughly committed to the view that heaven does exist. The Abdullah’s and Christians everywhere would say, “Heaven is no delusion.”

It was Jesus Christ who said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Jesus was talking about HEAVEN! The Abdullah’s recognised how important it is that Jesus Christ be reintroduced into people’s lives. He’s the one who raised the dead and rose from the dead and promised the comfort of heaven beyond death. Our sufferings may not be like that of the Abdullah family but the same promise, hope and comfort is available to us all in Jesus Christ. There is never a bad time to reintroduce Jesus Christ into your life and I pray you will so that you will never have to face life alone.

Rick Lewers