The Hope of Eternal Life
Editor’s note: I was wondering what articles to include in this month’s edition that deals more than usual with the sensitive topic of hell, when I came across this article. I hope it encourages you as it did me.
A few months ago, Carol, a Jewish woman I’ve been ministering to, came to faith. I came in contact with her through the head elder at my church and his wife. In fact, some of my most meaningful and fruitful times of ministry have come through connections made with Christian friends. Anyway, I had been meeting with Carol every couple of weeks over the past nine months. I was blessed by her excitement as she told me she had just prayed to receive Jesus after watching an old Billy Graham rebroadcast.
Carol has been in stage four cancer for years, but last month her doctors told her that they had exhausted every effort to keep the disease at bay, and she would not have much longer to live. Though she had already trusted her soul to Jesus, it was very difficult news to hear.
Whereas the first stage of my ministry was helping Carol to see the truth of Jesus, more recently I’ve been helping her come to terms with her prognosis. We have spent time reading the book of Job, and she really could identify with him. We also discussed 1 Corinthians 10:13, in which Paul says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” Despite tremendous pain, Carol has seen God’s hand of grace on her life and has also found strength that she never knew she had.
Recently we’ve had extensive conversations about the hope that Carol now has in Messiah, both for her present condition and eternal life. In Titus 3:7, Paul tells us, “so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
That prompted a whole discussion on what exactly is eternal life. I explained that the moment Carol came to faith in Jesus, she entered into a new life not bound by her physical body, nor bound by time. Her life with Messiah will last forever, and though her physical body will die, she will have a new glorified body, which will never die. Not only that, but the joy and satisfaction of her eternal life in Christ will know no limit. It will only get better and better and better—forever. None of the things that diminish the quality of life here on earth will trouble her, or any of us who belong to Jesus. Sin will be completely vanquished. Disease will be no more. Interpersonal conflicts will all be healed. Every wrong will be righted. Injustice will no longer exist. We will live a life of complete joy.
I asked Carol to open her Bible to Revelation 21, and read verses 3-4, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'” Carol smiled at that thought that her pain will one day come to an end. But her smile was also a measure of how much she is looking forward to being in the presence of her Lord!
When I encouraged Carol to write a “bucket list” of things she wanted to accomplish before she died, the first thing on that list was learning more about Jesus, and the Word of God. Now that put a smile on my face. I’m amazed at how fast Carol is growing in faith, and despite the humanly “hopeless” prognosis, she is looking toward to the “blessed hope” of being with her Messiah. I do ask that you pray for Carol, that she will not only have many more days, but that God will oversee her care so that she can be pain-free.
Lynn McCoy is one of our missionaries in Washington, D.C. Learn a bit more about Lynn here.