Do you have a friend who is dying? I do. A man that I hold most dear is going the way of all flesh. His earthly race is coming to a conclusion. He is on his last mile, and the heavenly host are cheering him on. His body is already depreciating, and it will soon be honorably buried, but his soul will not see decay. The process of death is stinging him and his loved ones; today they hurt. However, ultimately, death will have no sting as it will be completely swallowed up in victory. For him to carry on living today, well that is his missionary duty to Jesus Christ. However, when he passes on from this life to the next, all will be fantastic gain for him. Pain and tears will be no more. The consequences of living in a world cursed by sin will have ended. As a Christian, the only hell he is ever to experience will have been completed. He will arrive in paradise. He will see his long-lost loved ones. He will be introduced to his many biblical and spiritual heroes. My dear friend in Christ will play in the sacred band and join the heavenly choir. And face to face, my Christian father and brother will see Jesus Christ.
Why is this the case?
It is because God has made promises to his children, and God never fails to keep his word. Oh, God takes his dear sweet time in keeping his promises. From our perspective, he is quite slow. And in the process there is much sovereignly determined agony. Actively and/or passively, God allows his beloved children to suffer horribly. However, in the end, the God who has proven himself to be faithful will prove himself faithful yet again.
These thoughts came to mind this morning as I was reading Joshua 21:43-45:
Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.
Friends, God made promises to Israel; the land of Canaan was to be their possession, and it was to be rid of enemies. Yet, for many, many years, as God was fulfilling his promised obligations, he required much toil, pain, sorrow, tears, and blood. However, in the end, not one word of all God promised failed to come to pass. Israel received the land. They enjoyed peace. God was methodical. God was patient. God was long-suffering. He was somewhat slow in keeping his promises. However, in the end, God proved himself to be faithful one more time.
So, let us not grow weary in doing good. The Promised Land is ahead. The heavenly city of refuge awaits. The friends of Lucifer will either be transformed or evicted. Heaven is on the horizon. Let us not see disease and death and conclude that God is dishonest. Let us not experience his long-suffering compassion and conclude things will always be the same. God is patient. God is slow. But he is never late, and he is never lax in keeping his promises.
On that day, God will not be slow in keeping his promises, though he might be somewhat slow in getting us to that day.