A story. Some time ago my sister, Dorothy died and my brother-in-law, Al, didn’t shed a tear. At first, I thought it was shocking. Then he told me that he didn’t cry because he was happy. How could this be? I know that if my beloved passed, I would be a mess. My brother-in-law explained it this way. He was happy because my sister who had a stroke some years before was finally whole again and was waiting for him in heaven. He couldn’t wait to get to heaven so he could sing the “Ave Maria,” to Mary. I don’t believe I ever saw anyone with more joyful hope.
With all of the current events reported in the news, I notice many people who are very worried, nearly overwhelmed by negative emotions. I notice in my church community, however, people, while concerned about the mess in the world, have a quiet joyful hope. Why? I think it is because they know that life in this world is temporary. Life with God is eternal. They also rely on the promise that God has made with those who follow him. What is that promise?
As reported by scripture writers, God promised that he would be with us always, even to the ends of the Earth. We know that no matter what happens, his love for us is unconditional and incomprehensible; we can never be separated from him. We know that Jesus never promised that he would keep us from suffering, but that he would be with us in our suffering, through our losses, through our difficult times, as well in our times of happiness and joy and excitement. Suffering is something we experience in this temporary life, not in heaven.
We know that the world around us is passing away, changing, maturing and that in the end we need to be more concerned with our eternal destiny. It doesn’t mean that as christians, we don’t care about the world and culture we live in. We do care. Why else would we be called by God and church to care for the poor, seek justice for everyone, promote good health care, education, freedom and dignity for all people?
Like my brother-in-law, Al, we can all walk in joyful hope because we know that all will be well in the end, despite any suffering we may have to endure in this life. We live by the promise of God’s love. We live by faith and trust in the God who loves us and not by the news we are bombarded with about the current status of the world. We are called to make improvements in this world, knowing that this is our temporary home. Our future eternal home is heaven.
“May the Lord bless and keep you. May he let his face shine upon you and give you his peace.”