Thought of the day:
Is it okay to wish that God would call home an aged loved one who is in great suffering in this flesh?
On the one hand, we should not wish for the death of anyone. Death is evil. We should not wish evil on each other, but should pray for each other, even for our enemies. (Mat. 5:44)
On the other hand, for us Christians, we have already died to this world through baptism into Christ’s death. We do not truly die when this flesh crumbles, but we fall asleep in Christ and enter into God’s presence, our rest and true good and life eternal.
So the real question is: Are you wishing good or evil for your loved one?
A related question: Is it okay to wish that God would call you home yourself?
Paul thought so:
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith…” (Phil. 1:21-25)
C. S. Lewis in Problem of Pain argues that pain is God’s tool to prompt us to dislike this sinful world and realize that we shouldn’t plant our roots here. Without pain, we’d not see a reason to repent or turn to God. But as Christians, we see our life on this world as a sojourning only, while we journey toward our inheritance. Indeed, hope in God rather than in this world is fundamental to our faith.
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.” (Ps 130:5)
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.” (Rom. 8:18-24)
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for…” (Heb. 11:1)
“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’” (Rev. 22:17)
So yes, I believe it is not only okay, it is essential for the Christian to want God to take us home. That is basically what makes us Christians: our confidence and hope in our inheritance through and in Christ.
So yes, I believe it is also okay and good to wish this good inheritance to come to our Christian brother or sister who is suffering, especially once they no longer have much fruitful labor to look for here.
But it is God’s call as to when our work here is done. For as long as He keeps us here, we serve our neighbor in love as we can. And if we can’t, we can still pray and receive the love of others.
So we pray, “Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth as in heaven! Deliver us from evil!”
“The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness.” (Is. 57:1-2)