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Sunday, 30 July 2017

The story of Charlie Gard has been tragic from start to finish.

The heading is taken from the Leader Comment in a national newspaper - and one can surely understand the sentiment expressed. The article states:

"No-one can fail to have been touched by the agony the family of the 11-month-old baby has gone through.
The situation that Charlie’s mother and father faced was every parent’s nightmare.
One of the saddest aspects of the case was that Connie Yates and Chris Gard found themselves caught up in a high-profile legal battle which must have made it even harder for them to cope with their awful situation.
In the end, they lost their legal battle and they lost their son. Their hopes for experimental treatment, for Charlie to be allowed to die at home, and finally for him to continue to receive life support in a hospice for several days were all dashed.
Great Ormond Street Hospital has said it will examine what it can learn from the case.
It is difficult to see how the ultimate outcome could have been avoided, but it is clear there was a breakdown in trust between Charlie’s parents and the doctors an early stage.
In the end, it was decided the loss of the child could not be feasibly prevented, but the parents’ heartbreaking experience was worse than it should have been."
However, in what may be considered a sign of the times, I did not notice any comment regarding the spirit of this child? Is this because there are fewer of us who believe that physical death - whether it comes in the womb (abortion), or when one is a centenarian - is not the end? 
When I learned of Charlie's death, I started to sing: "Safe in the arms of Jesus, Safe on His gentle breast. There, by His love o'ershaded, Sweetly my soul shall rest". Because I have no doubt at all that, for that child who had not even reached the first anniversary of the day of his birth, the words of Paul are totally applicable: "... to depart and be with Christ, ... is far better." (Phil.1:23). Yes, I believe, firmly, that Charlie Gard is in the presence of the Heavenly Father, and that His eternal destiny is assured! "On what grounds?", someone might well ask. My response would be: "On exactly the same ground as anyone else - the amazing grace of God."

I sometimes tell the story of the man who died and - because it is just a story! - arrived at the Pearly Gates. He was met there, of course, by Peter (such stories usually major on popular opinion, rather than strict Biblical truth!) who, surprisingly, was holding a clip-board. 

"Name?", asked the apostle. 

The man gave him the information. 

"Ah, yes," said Peter, "you are on the list. Now, all that you have to do is to gain 100 points in order to gain access to heaven." 

"And how do I do that?" enquired the man.

"Not a problem", responded Peter. " Just tell me why you should be allowed to enter through these gates!"

"I wasn't expecting this." said the man. "However - let me think - oh, yes; I was a loving husband and father to my wife and children."

"That's good." came the reply. "That gets you 5 points."

"Hmm", said the man, thoughtfully, "and I also attended my church regularly."

"Good!", said Peter, "That gains you another 5 points."

The man scratched his head. "Oh, for the last ten years of my life, I was an elder in the church."

"Excellent," replied Peter, "That's worth a further 3 points."

"Does my regular tithing help?" asked the man.

"It most certainly does." said Peter. "That gets you a further 3 points."

"So how am I doing so far?" came the (understandable?!) question.

"Let's see", said the apostle, doing some quick addition, "you now have 16 points."

"Oh dear," said the man, "only 16! At this rate it will take the grace of God to get me through!"

"100 points!" smiled Peter. "Welcome!" "

It's only a story - but there is a very real truth contained in it. Paul again: "... by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God - not because of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph.2:8-9).

Do you know that grace? Have you thrown yourself, fully, on the mercy of Almighty God? Or are you labouring under the delusion that you can, by doing all of the right things (in your own eyes!) God will be "obliged" to let you enter the heavenly realm? 

Of course, there are good works that we must do - but they are the result of our salvation, not the means of it! Paul continues, in that letter to the disciples of Jesus, in Ephesus: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (v.10).

Please don't put the cart before the horse! Come to Him, in repentance and faith, and receive His wonderful gift of salvation, fully paid for by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus at Calvary.

As always, if you think that I may be able to be of any personal assistance, please feel free to contact me using the e-mail address at the top of the blog. I will get back to you as quickly as I can.

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