William Sangster (1900-1960) was a prominent evangelical Methodist minister in Britain. From 1939 to 1955 he pastored Westminster Central Hall, a prestigious Methodist church not far from Westminster Abbey in London. During World War 2 the basement of Sangster’s church was used as an air raid shelter. For 1,688 nights Sangster ministered to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of all types of people who gathered there for safety. After the war he spearheaded a spiritual renewal movement in Methodist churches across the country.
In 1958, however, Sangster was diagnosed as having an incurable disease that caused progressive muscular atrophy. When he learned of the diagnosis, he made four resolutions: “I will never complain. I will keep the home bright. I will count my blessings. I will try to turn it to gain.” Later he wrote: “There have been great gains already from my sickness. I live in the present. I am grateful for little things. I have more time – and use it – for prayer.”
Over the course of two and a half years he experienced the gradual paralysis of his muscles, which left him with no voice and able to move only two fingers. With them he communicated with others by writing, but eventually even that became illegible.
On Easter morning, just a few weeks before his death, he managed to write: “How terrible to wake up on Easter and have no voice to shout, ‘He is risen!’ Far worse, to have a voice and not want to shout.”
This Easter season may our hearts and mouths be full of exuberant praise for our risen Savior Jesus Christ. He not only conquered death Himself. His resurrection is the guarantee that all who believe in Him, even should they die before His return, will similarly be raised from the dead to experience life eternal with Him in heaven.
The Apostle Paul states of those who die believing in Jesus as their Savior: “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. … But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him” (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).
And Jesus Himself declares: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).
Such a Savior is worthy of our deepest gratitude and highest exaltation!
Copyright 2016 by Vance E. Christie