Reading Zechariah 12-14; Revelation 21
I just finished perusing some posts on Facebook. A young woman whom I used to do Bible study with commented that today was the 13th anniversary of her father’s death. She remarked that this was the day that God decided it was time for him to leave this earth. She also remarked on how much he loved his daughters. According to my friend, her father now looks after them and protects them lovingly from where he is.
It’s funny, and sad, how we remember things. We filter them through our “wanna be” and “wish it was” and end up with a story that comforts us even when it isn’t true. Her father was a philanderer who abandoned his daughters and wife to live with a second family that he had been maintaining on the side for some time. He left them penniless and with a mountain of debt that took his wife years to pay off. He committed suicide immediately after calling his oldest daughter to come and visit him, knowing that she would be the one to discover his body hanging from the rafters.
The world can be a cruel place, no matter now much we try to imagine it otherwise. Perhaps that’s one good reason for us to think more frequently about heaven than we do. It’s one place that, no matter how good we imagine it to be, will always be better.
Oddly enough, both my Old and New Testament readings for today talk about some of the same wonderful things we have to anticipate, things that imagination and words can never do justice to.
“They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away…The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp…Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life…On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name” —Revelation 21:3, 4, 23-27; Zechariah 14:9, NIV.
We filter the evil of life to make it easier to bear. We scrub it and polish it so that we can live with its murky shine at least until something or someone comes along to reveal its true tarnish. When our eyes are focused on the eternal, no scrubbing is necessary. It is, as they say, “what it is.” It needs no varnish, no bleach, no disinfecting, no filter. It’s perfect.
When the earth turns to mud under your feet, look up. The perspective is so much nicer.