Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Now What?

A friend of mine passed away last night. It wasn't unexpected. Still, there is always a strange sense of unexpectedness when someone dies. I think it is Philip Yancey who has suggested that our rejection of death is a reflection of a knowledge that death is not the natural order of things. We were made for life!

I was given a new perspective on Genesis 3 a year or two ago. That is the chapter of the Bible which describes humanity's departure from life in perfect relationship with God, then goes on to tell of God's response. I had seen the curse of Genesis 3 -- pain of childbearing, difficulty of cultivation, removal from the Garden of Eden, and loss of immortality. But I was able to begin seeing the grace of Genesis 3, also. God took the initiative to reach out to Adam and Eve, and invited them to return. Adam and Eve had hidden themselves. "But the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?'" Then, despite their continuing lack of repentance, God still provided for them -- crops, companionship, covering, and more.

When humanity had been separated from God, God said that man "must not be allowed to... live forever." God provided mortality. Could even death be a sign of grace?

My friend had lived a good long time, in human years. She loved her family and wanted, like any good mother, to stay and nurture and care for them. And yet, she was ready to meet God.

John says this in Revelation 21: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. 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."

I read this, and imagine a new heaven and a new earth. I imagine God's people approaching Him in awe and love. I imagine God with us, and no more dialysis or hospitals or worries or pain or fear or any of that.

And I am thankful.

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