” ‘Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. ” — Heb., ii., 25.
First, it is a great comfort, or should be, that the heavenly land is not a strange land, into which we are to emigrate, neither known nor knowing. Having lived much in the “West, I have seen many emigrants arrive there, who, on account of poverty or misfortune, or from the hope of bettering their already comfortable circumstances, were in search of homes in that region ; and I have seen them huddled on the thoroughfares in bleak weather, strangers among strangers, and I have thought that their reception must have made their new home most dismal. If dying was to be thrust out of life, and to emigrate to a land where we have no friends, where there are none that know us, and where we know none, it would be a sad thing indeed. But if our names are known in heaven ; if they are written in the Lamb’s book of life ; and if Jesus Christ has ever been our Head, our Leader, our Mediator, administering in our behalf, and preparing a place for us, that where he is there we may be also, then heaven will be familiar to us, and dying will not be so much to be deplored. After this life is over, heaven will seem to us like home. Already it begins to draw us. Our losses fly up there and become riches. If the cage-door lets out our warbler, the woods get him, even if we lose him. We hear him singing afar, even if he will not return to our hand. So we give to heavenly fields what we lose from earth ! And the belief that in heaven our fathers have long dwelt, that we are going there, and that our names are there known and affectionately called, is comforting indeed.
Henry Ward Beecher, “The Intercession of Christ, Preached in Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, in the Fall of 1861”, Sermons
Henry Ward Beecher, (1813- 1887) was a Congregationalist pastor. Here he makes reference to the hard life of emigrants. He is using the harsh conditions to make a spiritual point, and first let’s take that in. We don’t know what heaven will be like, but our friends will be there, and we know the guy at the Door. Take comfort in that.
Beecher saw the real-life conditions of suffering emigrants. Apparently so many had moved to the western United States that many ended up literally huddling together for warmth in the streets. Beecher doesn’t yield to the modern temptation of saying they should have stayed where they were, he understands they were fleeing desperate circumstances. He places the blame for the suffering on the emigrants not having any friends. Who can be a friend to them?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, you are our dearest Friend. Remind us of the joys that await us in the life to come. Give us Beecher’s soft heart for the emigrant. Let us befriend those who are in need. AMEN.