Yesterday we had the sad news that Tim, one of our church family, died of cancer on Sunday night. Although we knew he just had months to live it still came as a shock. We grieve with his family and long for a world free from pain and sorrow like this. I didn’t know Tim very well but I greatly respected and admired the Tim I did know. Tim became a Christian 3 years ago and was an inspiringly authentic Christian, his faith really did change him, he prayed prayers that were genuine, not polished with Christian jargon learnt over years. His faith seemed to really have an impact on the way he lived his life that I learnt loads from. I will miss his humility, his gentle teasing and his honest faith.
When he discovered he had cancer he described a night of worry, of battling and then a real experience of peace from God, knowing that he was in safe hands. You can hear about that and more here, as he spoke of his prognosis at a guys evening at church. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t perfect but his life left a mark on mine and I’m grateful. I’m also grateful for a moment after a talk I’d given on Heaven at our Church in a Pub, I was talking about Isaiah 25:6-10, verses that Tim hadn’t seen before. I loved the smile in his eyes as he talked to me after. Tim loved wine and had discovered in excitement some verses that made heaven seem a little bit more tangible.
“On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken.
In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
He finally gets to taste that wine now and we are left in sorrow that he is not with us any more, but we have a sorrow tinged with hope, knowing that one day we’ll see him again, and one day we too will taste that finest of wines and have our God wipe away the tears from our eyes.