Tuesday, 10 August 2021
Heaven, Our Eternal Home
By: Cecilia Tan 陈俊芳
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
Once more, death has invaded the PBC Karis (Seniors) family circle. On 25 July 2021, our beloved sister Helen Chong was suddenly called home to be with the Lord after a fall in her home. Her death shocked many as Helen appeared fit and healthy all this while, without any sign of serious illness.
Helen had a special loving and caring touch. During pre-Covid days, she participated in our weekly Ladies Bible Study with great zest and enthusiasm. She would bring a big pot of “tong sui” for all of us to enjoy after the study. She even brought the bowls and spoons to dish out the “tong sui”! She loved gardening and often gave me fresh basil from her garden. She did not just cut the stems with the leaves but would go the extra mile of wrapping the stems with wet tissue so that the leaves would stay fresh for hours and not wilt away!
In the last 2 years, we have bade farewell to quite a number of our Karis brothers and sisters. They did not succumb to the Covid virus but died of various other afflictions.
It is only normal that we experience sorrow and grief when death removes a loved one from our midst. We feel a deep sense of loss. We are robbed of their presence, of their affections and of joyful interactions with them. “Good-bye” is a sad word in every language!
However we can draw comfort from the fact that our loved ones have gone ahead of us, to be with our Lord Jesus. In John 14:1-3, Jesus Himself announced to His disciples (and to us) that He was going away to prepare a “place” for us in His “Father’s house”, so that where He is, we would also be!
We can only be transported to that place via the vehicle of death. That magnificent place called “Heaven” is an eternal home we were created to inhabit. Revelation 21:3-4 describes it as a place where death, pain and sorrow no longer prevail, where peace and praise replace struggle and strife, where we meet God face-to-face and experience His glorious presence forever.
Heaven will be a place of perfect health like we have never known before! – no more Covid (whatever the variants!), no more joint pains, migraines, backaches, vertigo, muscle cramps, cancer, diabetes, heart problems, other diseases or allergies of any kind whatsoever! We will no longer suffer the infirmities of old age. We will forever be full of life and vigorous, walking with the step of an athlete!
God has indeed prepared for us a place that surpasses our imagination! – a place of relief from suffering, a place to rest from our earthly toils and labours, a place where we will be rewarded for our faithfulness in following Christ while on earth, a place to call home where perfect holiness, perfect health, unending joy and fellowship with God and all His saints will be experienced by all His children!
May we gain strength and hope from God’s promises to cope with this troubled earthly existence, and rest in the fact that God’s best is yet to come! May we dispel unrestrained grief and prolonged sorrow over the deaths of our loved ones. For death has merely served to transport them to the best place ever – the bosom of the Lord! And one day, we will all meet again in that indescribably beautiful place called HEAVEN, OUR ETERNAL HOME!
With John Donne, the famous 17th century English preacher and poet, let us rebuke death as only a Christian can:
“Death, be not proud…
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more:
Death, thou shalt die.”
Our Heavenly Father, we miss our loved ones terribly. But we take comfort that we will one day see them again. For our Lord Jesus has promised, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). We are grateful for the blessed hope that at the end of our earthly journey, Jesus Himself will lead each of us to our heavenly home that He has prepared for us. We thank You in His name! Amen.
死亡再一次侵袭班底浸信会卡里斯团契（PBC Karis – 年长者)家庭圈子。2021年7月25日，我们深爱的姐妹Helen Chong在家里跌倒后，突然被上帝呼召回天家了。她的逝世让许多人感到震惊，因为她在这段时间里看起来很健康，没有任何严重疾病的迹象。
海伦（Helen）有一片特殊的爱心和关怀之情。在新冠疫情之前的日子里，她怀着极大的热忱参加我们每周的姐妹查经班。她会带上一大锅的 “糖水” 让我们每个人在查经班完毕之后享用，她甚至还带了碗和勺子来盛出 “糖水”！她喜欢园艺，经常从她的花园摘取新鲜的九层塔送我。她不只是割下茎连着叶，还特地用湿纸巾把茎包裹， 让叶子保持新鲜数小时而不枯萎！
然而，我们可以从我们所爱的人先我们一步与主耶稣一起的这个事实里得到安慰。在约翰福音14:1-3，耶稣亲自向祂的门徒(和我们)宣布，祂要去祂 “父的家” 为我们预备 “地方” ，这样，祂在哪里，我们也会在哪里！
我们只能通过死亡被送到那个地方。那个称为 “天堂” 的壮丽地方是一个我们被创造去居住的一个永恒的家。启示录21:3-4将其描述为一个不再有死亡、痛苦和悲伤的地方，平安和赞美取代斗争和冲突，在那里我们与上帝面对面，永远体验祂荣耀的同在。
天堂将是一个我们从未有过的一个完美健康的地方！ – 不再有新冠肺炎(不管是什么变种！)，不再有关节痛、偏头痛、背痛、眩晕、肌肉痉挛、癌症、糖尿病、心脏病、其他疾病或任何种类的过敏！我们将不再遭受老年的病痛。我们将永远朝气蓬勃，以运动员的步伐行走！
上帝确实为我们预备了一个超乎我们想象的地方！ – 一个从苦难中得解脱的地方，一个让我们从尘世的辛劳中得到安息的地方，一个我们因在地上忠心跟随基督而获得奖赏的地方，一个称为家的地方，在那里，上帝的儿女都能体验到完美的圣洁、完美的健康、无尽的喜乐并与上帝及祂所有圣徒的团契！
愿我们从上帝的应许获得力量和盼望，以应对这个混乱的世俗生活，并安息在上帝最好的、尚未出现的事实中！愿我们驱散因亲人逝世而产生的无限悲痛和长期的忧伤。因为死亡只是把他们送到了有史以来最好的地方 – 主的怀抱！总有一天，我们会再次相聚在那无法形容的美地，叫做 天堂，我们永恒的家 ！