A text on a Sunday morning, read between band practice and the beginning of service, sets my head to spinning. Someone is in the hospital. It’s serious.
Sweet William and I go as soon as we can. We see the grave faces of the family, observe the mechanics of the ICU room, and gaze upon the stillness of our friend.
There is nothing we can do but offer love and prayer and our presence.
By the next morning, I hear of his passing. Another death in so few months. And I am broken open by a broken world where death comes without warning and life feels too short. I wonder how I am to live with the reality that all of us face the same end?
What is life about here on an earth that groans with its own longing as if in the pains of childbirth? I groan with it, eagerly waiting for the perfection of all things when tears will be wiped away forever.
I experience what is common to all. Birth. Death. And in between are a multitude of experiences, joyous as well as heart-rending. What is the purpose?
I’m full of questions without answers.
I remember Paul’s words how the resurrection of Christ is our hope in a world of hurt. If we do not know that reality, we live in misery, without expecting anything better. We live futilely looking for meaning when there is sickness, pain, and death all around.
While living is radiant, joyous, abounding in good things, gifts from a benevolent God, there is the harsh reality of suffering and we are left wondering. In our hearts we know it isn’t supposed to be this way. We feel the call to the flawless Eden when God made everything and called it good, very good.
So we exist in the in-between of Eden and Heaven, with eternity set in our hearts drawing us to a higher and better place, where beauty exceeds our imaginations, where music is more splendid than we’ve ever heard, where suffering no longer exists and love permeates everything with an eternal light.
We wait for that glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. We wait for all things to be fulfilled as God has ordained. The plan is beyond me. I cannot fathom in my finite mind what He is doing. But I know without a doubt He is working all things according to His excellent plan, and I rejoice and find comfort that I am part of His plan.
Until I understand more, I am told to trust. Believe. See His glory. Even when it is shrouded by a cloud of darkness and I tremble to approach. God dwells in light but He is also in our darkest nights. He never leaves us in our heartbroken estate. He is with us even then.
Yes, even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, again and again, I know my Good Shepherd will be with me. I do not need to be afraid.
I look upward to the heavens, watch the clouds begin to mist away as blue sky appears. Even the blackest of night gives way to dawn’s radiance.
The morning will come. And it will be magnificently triumphant.