Daily Devotion - Friday, April 8, 2016
Yesterday my wife decided to do some quick calculations on how many days the both of us basically have left to live. It was somewhere around 9,000 give or take. I always get uncomfortable when she talks about our mortality. I don't like to think about everything coming to an end.
Merideth finds comfort in thinking about these kinds of things. She tells me that it's important to be aware of how brief and fleeting life truly is. I have come to embrace this, even though I still have a feeling of sadness when I think about it. I've also started to become more and more aware of the hope that a life lived in Jesus' name has to offer.
So, yesterday evening we went on a picnic. We came home from work, hustled to make a really good dinner, packed into a picnic basket, loaded up the kids and the dog and went down to the waterfront park in the town where we live. It was a beautiful evening, nice and cool with a gentle breeze--the calm before the storm of heat and humidity to come.
We ate dinner on a picnic table by the lake, and then we walked, and talked together for an hour afterward. It was a special moment, and it helped to push back against the busy-ness and demands of our week.
What was the occasion, you ask? Thursday. It was Thursday.
There is this verse in the Apostle Paul's letter to the Thessalonians that goes like this:
13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
Paul was helping these early Christians understand the kind of hope we have as Children of the Resurrection. The people he was addressing were struggling to understand the hope of the Resurrection as members of their group were passing away. Paul speaks to them about the life to come, and the resurrection that they will share with Jesus one day.
I believe that there will be a day when all things will be made new. I believe there will come a day when those who have died in Christ will be raised again to new life, in a newly made world, with new bodies freed from the constraints of the life we know now.
I believe these things because without them I would live without hope, and the thought of only having 9,000 days would overwhelm me with grief. So instead, I practice living into the newness of life that I anticipate. I go on a picnic on Thursday. I find eternal, lasting, beautiful moments to relish and to share right here, right now. And it whets my appetite for what is to come.
May you experience eternity and resurrection today in the ordinary moments. May you find grace and peace in unexpected places. May you discover the hope of living every day in anticipation of the eternal, blessed life that Jesus is preparing for you and for me, and for all of Creation.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.