Tuesday, April 30, 2013

On mourning and hope

In preparing for a weekly bible study I do with a young friend of mine, I read this verse today:
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.
~ Ecclesiastes 7:2
It certainly has seemed that my dh and I are in some senses in a season of mourning.  We seem to have constant and evolving health issues plaguing us, bothers at work, tragedies abroad, friends with cancer, miscarriages, heartbreaks, and struggles.  Our theme for this year is "Preparation".  On good days, I see this as the promise of a future and a hope.  On hard days, I see it as preparation for the journey to that country from which no man returns. Not to be all classically melodramatic in my paraphrase of Catullus, but he echoes the Preacher here, and the Preacher is right: death is the destiny of every man. And some days, that seems more obvious and imminent than others.

The preacher is also right that we, the living, should take this to heart.  Self-distraction only gets you so far. The Preacher doesn't mean we should have some morbid fascination with death.  Instead, he means we are broken people living in a broken world, and life here is full of sorrow and the need for redemption. Two responses alone can adequately reply to this reality-- mourning and hope.  We mourn for the reality of the brokenness, and hope for its redemption.  Unless we mourn the reality, the vivid colors of the redemption fade into lackluster greys. 

So, I mourn-- but not as one who has no hope. Instead I work to set my eyes on Him who bore all this brokenness to bring redemption, and I work to finish this race set before me. I look to:
Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
~Hebrews 12:2-3

And with such a hope, how can I despair?

1 comment:

ikceb said...

Amen! You've been in my thoughts and prayers this week!