Romans 5:1–6 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
My Mom (our Mom – the 4 of us siblings, and numerous grandkids and great grandkids) went to be with Jesus @ 2:05 this morning.
She was 88. Dad is 90.
As one kind friend wrote – he was sorry for us in our “temporary” separation.
That is just plain glorious – isn’t it?
This is what it means to be a Christian in a way that is singly the most diametrically opposed to the world – death is an enemy which is at last overcome. And that, not as the World would see it as a supposed mere end to physical suffering, but because resurrection awaits.
Because those who know Christ rise to meet Him in that veiled moment they pass from this life fully into His.
And in it, we overcome in such remarkable likeness to our Lord – or rather, we see how truly like us He was in His humanity.
He showed us that if we are one with the Father, we can die in weakness, and that is no shame.
We can agonize over death as He did in the Garden – and that is no shame.
We can cry the cry of “I thirst” in the torment of the moment – without shame.
We can tremble -with no shame.
Why? Because of our Hope.
Not the “I hope so” kind of hope – the hope that is a living, real anticipation of the good things to come because of the goodness of the One who promised them, and who cannot fail to love His own with perfect, infinite love.
Mom’s last hours were fitful. It is not always so for the saints. For many it is very different. For her, it was hard. And that’s OK.
In the long hours of Friday night into Saturday, as it became clear in the hospital that she was failing more rapidly than we thought, I had some precious time alone with her.
She said she needed to confess something to me, to get it put right. Once done, I thought it seemed a release to her.
In fact it wasn’t a confession at all. It was setting the record straight for her.
And though it is exceedingly intimate – I still want to to share it. For it points right back to the way Jesus enters into our humanity, and allows us as His redeemed, to enter into the secret places of His own suffering.
Mom & Dad got pregnant on their wedding night. But what set some tongues to wagging, was that my sister, was born a month premature at less than 5 pounds. Nevertheless, in the eyes of some, it was eight months and not nine. She always felt bad, that people questioned their pre-marital purity. She had felt shamed by others – over what was in truth pure. And she wondered why the Lord had let that settle on her for the 65 years they were married.
I had no specific answer, of course. Providence is often as mysterious as it is sovereign and good. But when she spoke of it, I could only think that Jesus had let her taste just a bit of the stigma that surrounded His own infinite purity in His virgin birth. That it was not meant to be millstone, as much as a point of intimacy with Him. A place where He could say to her through circumstances – “Lillian, child, come taste some of what I entered into for you, for all the redeemed, in a secret place.”
I think we often fail to find Him in our own griefs – forgetting how He so fully entered into ours, so much that He died for the sin behind them. We fail, as those redeemed from the curse, to recognize that the suffering we still endure is still due to sin forgiven – and yet we still endure it. Because He endured for OUR sin, and none of His own.
It seemed to settle her at that moment. And I left wanting to take more advantage of what the Savior allows me to suffer. That I might know Him better.
But now, there is no more suffering for Mom. She experiences an intimacy with The Savior right now that is all rooted in the everlasting bliss of resurrection, instead of the former glory of the incarnation.
Fall headlong into His kindness Mom – plunge in and luxuriate in it until we are all together again.
I love you: Reid