I’ve never witnessed someone cross through the thin veil which separates this life from the next. When I listen to others describe it, I’m always filled with awe.
What was it like? Did angels lead the way into the Light which never fades? Was there hesitation or was it impossible to resist the pull of a place with no tears, shame or regret?
When tragedy hits, the questions abound. And there is an ache for a world where suffering and evil don’t knock us off our feet. A longing for a place we can’t see yet, but fills us with a hope that carries us when the load crushes.
This week, our community suffered a great loss. A family is grieving for little girl whose life on this earth was too short.
And as the questions play on repeat, I’m reminded how little I know.
I don’t know why some prayers for healing are answered and some aren’t.
I don’t know why one child suffers and another is saved by medicine or the supernatural.
I don’t know why girls are left motherless at an age when a mother’s touch is like air in the lungs.
I know little, and although I’m being transformed, perhaps that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Perhaps in some ways, knowledge does not equate with power.
We live in a world fallen far from the Eden where we once enjoyed complete, unblemished communion with God. And we have knowledge of more than God ever intended.
We know good from evil. And to be honest, sometimes that knowledge levels us, doesn’t it? Our heightened awareness of the darkness around us leaves us searching for something sure, unwavering and true.
When trouble and hardship come, we often forget where our anchor lies. I know I do. And the other day, as I sat swaying and flipping through my Bible, my eyes landed on 1 Peter.
Peter is writing to a church who is discouraged. They are being persecuted and ridiculed for their faith, and they need encouragement.
As I read through the first chapter, one word jumped off the page: living.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you…
1 Peter 1:3-4 NIV (emphasis mine)
It was a single word I’d passed over time and time again, but it struck me in a way that left my eyes wet and my hands trembling as I ran my finger over the black and white.
We hope because Jesus is more than black and white in a book. The blood that courses through our veins filled his.
We hope because he left his place in heaven and chose to become dusty and dirty with us, walking with the afflicted and the poor. And then he took the darkness which threatens to consume us on himself.
All of it.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Matthew 27:26 NIV
We don’t ever have to ask the haunting question Jesus screamed on the cross. When we rail against the hurt and the unknown, we can rest assured that he when he said, “It is finished,” he meant it.
This hope is living because he is living. Living to intercede. Living to comfort in the moments when life overwhelms.
He breathes life in the gap between this life and the next. He breathes life in the unknown. He is there.
And when the questions don’t stop or the answers don’t come, his grace still fills the empty spaces.
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