My last memory of my dear friend Pastor Bernard Sigouin here on earth is this magnificent moment as he stood with his hands lifted to the heavens singing:
I sing a simple song of love
To my Savior, to my Jesus.
I’m grateful for the things You’ve done,
My loving Savior, my precious Jesus.
My heart is glad that You’ve called me Your own.
There’s no place I’d rather be than
In Your arms of love,
In Your arms of love.
Holding me still, holding me near,
In Your arms of love.
This is how Pastor Bernard left this earth to join his Father. With words of praise on his lips and the joy of having faithfully served God until the end, he found himself in the loving arms of the One to whom he had entrusted his entire life with unshakable faith. As he fell to the floor, right there in the church to which he had dedicated his entire life, I was reminded of the verse, “Absent from the body, present with the Lord” (see 2 Corinthians 5:8).
It was a privilege for me to share the Word at his funeral. Loved ones, family, pastors, leaders and Bible school students gathered to honor his memory and to celebrate his faith and his life. I shared a Bible text with the packed audience, a passage of Scripture calling us to this faith that never quits: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. . . . So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved” (Hebrews 10:23, 35-39).
May a new generation be inspired to lay hold of this flaming torch, the absolute conviction that without faith it is impossible to possess! May the light of your faith illuminate the cold and dark night of unbelief, giving hope and direction to all those around you who have lost their way, for whom to believe again is a matter of life and death!
Claude Houde, lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada, is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.