When we need to make sense of suffering

Originally published Friday, 13 March 2015.

Sometimes the winds of Heaven reach us. They blow strong on our faces, carried on by accidents, disease, tragedy. And, it takes our breath away.

We stand disoriented, wondering at the feel of the breeze, the smell in the air, the sudden change in temperature. Our souls gasp – is it homesickness, maybe something familiar we recognize in the air?

Because, in the midst of life, sometimes the reality of eternity sweeps in like that, and we cannot look away.

We, a society of distractions. We, a culture of intellectualism. We, a community with an independence running thick in our veins.

Yet, when faced with our own humanity, we look up, panting for hope, for understanding, for the assurance that we are not, after all, alone in this.

Because, in times like this, our souls cry out for a Father who loves us, a Jesus who accepts us. Not One who tests us with hard times, or simply observes our daily life with disinterest, or fails to control the random acts of fate. Desperate, we need assurance that our bodies are not just made for this world, and that the Designer of our days has our best in mind.

It’s not all over in an accident or a diagnosis, right?

Our loved ones are not just flung into blackness, gone forever, right?

There is more than all this, right?

“Oh yes, there is more,” He whispers over us, the voice of our Maker, our Emmanuel – One dwells with us and understands.

People of God, may we believe that no lives have been cut off prematurely by cruel fate. We have not fallen victim to an angry, impersonal force.

There is a God who has carefully wound our hearts to the time of eternity. He’s tucked Heaven into the DNA of our souls. What our intellect may not recognize, our souls know full well: we are eternal beings, merely sojourners in this pre-life, prepping for Glory. Our true Home, our true identity and place of belonging, is just beyond the grave.

We must embrace this, if we are ever to come to terms with the accidents, the diagnoses, the diseases.

May your spirit recognize these winds of eternity - as a newborn baby, seconds old and eyes squeezed shut, recognizes the familiar scent of his mother. May we thus be swept up into a fuller understanding of the vapor-quality of this pre-life.

So, pray - pray for the little things to lose their grip and for our hearts to be set firmly on what will matter on that day, that day we find ourselves awestruck in the presence of Jesus, home at last.

May we remember with each sunrise that we are to live this day in light of that day.

May we carry Heaven in our hearts.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16