She and her family sat in the pew in front of us at church just a few months ago.
The first thing I noticed was her absolutely radiant smile.
The sun streaming through the stained glass window bathed her in a golden light and she just seemed to sparkle and shimmer.
It was when she reached over to hug her mother that I noticed how painfully thin her little arms were. Then I noticed the slight wisps of hair escaping from the festively-colored knitted cap she wore despite the fact that it was a blisteringly hot summer day.
A lump arose in my throat as I realized that the little girl must be battling cancer.
I found myself distracted for the rest of the service. I watched her whisper to her sibling from time to time and sing along with the music. The smile rarely left her face.
I watched her mother quietly wipe away the tears during the sermon as our pastor taught the treasures and comfort of the Word.
When we stood up to leave, I noticed that she had colored a picture on the back of the bulletin. The most prominent drawing was of a giant, smiling sun.
On the drive home, my husband and I both had tears in our eyes. Our kids had been spending that weekend with their aunt and uncle and when they returned home, we hugged them tight, whispering prayers of thanks for their good health. For the precious gift of life.
This morning in church, Pastor Steve announced that this same little girl’s earthly fight was over and she had been swept up into the arms of Jesus and ushered into the joys of Heaven the day before.
We grieve when we hear such news…and rightly so.
But we do not grieve without HOPE.
I am reading through the Bible this year and for the past several weeks, I have been in the book of Revelation.
When I heard that news this morning, my thoughts turned immediately to what I had read earlier from Revelation 21:1-5
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be any mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
I have been meditating on those most beautiful and breathtaking verses.
They burst forth with blazing hope and ecstatic joy and magnificent, exquisite LIFE!
Those eternally true words cause a soul to rise up and transcend this fallen world, providing a mercifully healing balm to a hurting soul.
This life is not all there is!
Jesus has graciously given us this window into the coming world so that we will not lose heart when life gets hard and we feel that our heart is breaking.
It is the only way I can process distressing and grievous events. My Savior lives and reigns and promises pleasures evermore to those who love Him. (Psalm 16:11) .
There is coming a day when He will make everything right.
Until then, we choose to trust Him with what we do not understand.
We accept His invitation to pour out our hearts to Him and allow Him to heal us in the deepest part of our wounded hearts through His powerful Word.
We cling to His promises with all the strength we possess…and then we dare to believe them and stand in faith on the truth of His Word alone.
We rejoice in the sure and certain hope of Heaven.
If life hurts right now, spend some time meditating on Revelation 21 and 22. Make copies of those two chapters and read them at every opportunity. With spiritual eyes, view your current trials through the lens of those Scriptures and allow His peace and joy to permeate your soul.
One glorious day, death will be forever swallowed up in the victory Jesus secured for us on the Cross. It was there that He absorbed all the ugliness of our sin so that He could give us the beauty of His righteousness.
He is making all things new.
Praise His Name.
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.—I Corinthians 2:9