A Heavenly Perspective
15 May 2017
The husband looked at us and said, “People are always asking if they can pray for me for healing, and I tell them, how do you know I am not already healed? We need to stop praying people out of heaven, and start praying them into heaven”.
There is a holy quietness that comes on me as I remember these words spoken in our Pioneers Melbourne office two months ago. Our visitors that day were a Melbourne couple, living an extraordinary life. The husband, when he was only eleven months old, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. His parents were told that he would probably not live beyond five years of age. A life of miracles followed. Many times his body defied the medical odds through God’s supernatural intervention. He studied nursing, married, and worked as a school teacher. But for this couple, with a deep and passionate faith in Jesus, their dream had always been to serve God in cross cultural missions overseas.
Sharing with us some of their journey of joy and sorrow, they admitted that serving overseas was no longer an option for them. At age forty, the husband was dying, his heart destroyed by the chemotherapy he had received as a child. The atmosphere in the room was tender, a strange mix of sadness at the dreams now lost, and an awe at the kindness of God over these precious lives.
But it’s the line about praying people into heaven that has stayed with me. Just, wow! This was a perspective on life that most of us have not earned the right to say, but this man had. He was completely content in the work of healing that God had done in his life, mind, spirit, soul and yes, even in his body. He knew the truth of the words of Paul, that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.”* He knew that God’s work in him was near completion, and he was getting ready to leave his tired, broken body behind, and transition into heaven, where he would see his Saviour face to face.
I have thought on this man’s words many times since that morning. My Mum passed away last year. As her health declined at a frightening rate, it was often so confusing to know what to pray, how to pray. My Dad, like Mum a strong believer, now also has terminal cancer. I find that I have a newfound confidence – I am praying my Dad into heaven. Don’t get me wrong, I am still praying for healing, praying for him to live to the full all the days that God has ordained for him. But at the same time, I am praying for God to get Dad ready for the big move! From this short-term life on planet earth, into eternity with God in heaven. I don’t have to hold on tightly to Dad’s earthly life.
But what of all our unsaved friends and family, the lost people in our streets, in our cities? What of the unreached peoples across the globe? Well, we need to be praying them into heaven too. Their present lives matter. They sure matter to God. But as we love people, and attend to their needs, and pray for their sicknesses, their livelihoods, their troubles, we need to remember that the thing they need most is reconciliation with their loving Father God, and the assurance of eternal life with Him. Now is just the prelude. Heaven is the main event. Let’s pray them into heaven.