Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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From a sermon by Preacher Clark in a Sunday afternoon prayer meeting, Feb. 21, 1970
One morning some years back, as I often did, I drove my father to town to take care of some ordinary business. This day, he chose to wait in the car while I went in to pay the cable bill, and when I returned, he said to me, “God just told me that He wasn’t a murderer.” This was an unusual statement, and so I was eager to hear what he and the Lord had been talking about while I was paying bills.
Apparently, my father had been sitting in the car talking to the Lord about taking him to his eternal home, and the Lord’s blunt response was, “I am not a murderer.” It took my father aback momentarily, but he perceived the Lord’s point; namely, it wasn’t time yet for my father to go home, and if anyone in heaven or earth sent him home before God’s appointed time, that would amount to what men call “murder”. Aren’t murderers those who send others to the grave before they die naturally?
This is the part of the reasoning behind Preacher Clark’s oft-repeated phrase, “When you are ready to meet God, you will meet God.” By that statement, he meant that there is an appointed time for you to meet God. Each of us has an appointment with Jesus and death, and none of us can avoid it. But if someone causes you to die before God’s appointed time, he has sinned, and the name of that sin is “murder”.
Now, we know that whatever God does is not sin, even if He decides to take you home to be with Him earlier than when He originally planned for you to come. There is no sin in God. But that was not the point of His startling statement to Preacher Clark. Actually, He was telling my father the same thing that He told me when I was visiting Brother Jimmy Tolle’s house in Louisville almost twenty-five years ago. I had just completed my first book, Spiritual Light, and it had been such a challenging project for me that, when it was finished, I felt that I must have fulfilled my whole purpose for being born. I remember sitting alone in Brother Jimmy’s living room one evening, and I raised my hands up to God. Then I said something like, “Well, I have done it, Lord. You can take me on home, now.”
The Lord said, “Forget it.”
He could have said, “I am not a murderer” and the same point would have been made. In fact, He could have said the same thing my father said during his sermon in that little home prayer meeting: “When you are ready to meet God, you will meet God.”
God will not be late. He has lovingly and wisely designed your pathway for your good, and you can rest in perfect confidence that you will not fall asleep in Jesus until it is your bed time.