“All flesh is like grass

and all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers,

and the flower falls,

but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

1 Peter 1: 24, 25

 

Perhaps it is true for me that age has become more of a reality now that the majority of my allotted days have surely passed into history, and it may be that in this process of journeying through life that I have encountered an ever-increasing number of people who have needed to deal with the effects of aging as well. Whatever the situation, I am acutely aware of my own increasing frailty and that of many of the people I know. I think that the inevitability of age is, in fact, a very intentional part of God’s plan and design for people during these days that arc across our history and bridge the gap between creation’s perfection and Christ’s restoration of that same state of sinlessness. Now we live in days where this earth and our lives need to be more tenuous than what comes next so that we don’t become totally focused on who we are and what we possess in this life.

 

God implanted aspiration and drive into us. It is in no way wrong for me to want to do things and to plan for their achievement. It is honoring to God when I use the gifts, talents, and skills that He has given to me. However, it is also easy for me to become so caught up in my abilities and accomplishments that I lose sight of God’s presence in all of it and only value my own efforts. This tendency toward looking inwardly for strength and for guidance draws me away from the real power of Christ and causes me to become ever more compliant to the often unrighteous voices of this world. So, God throws that proverbial glass of icy cold water into my face; sometimes He even leaves the ice cubes in it for extra emphasis, and I am reminded of the perishable certainty of this body and of its life on earth.

 

At the same time, Christ speaks to my troubled soul with words that come from deep inside of eternity. The Lord speaks truth, and that truth brings both comfort and commission to my heart and mind. He leads me out of self and into His redeemed perspective for the unknown number of days that I have remaining to me in this life so that I can more fully engage with Isaiah’s ancient words of prophetic wisdom and apply their guidance to this day. Although the warranty on this body of mine seems to be approaching its end, Christ has taken my soul and my earthly existence out of the tyranny of those final days, months, or years, and He has placed me within the forever continuing narrative of God’s Word. So, I am at peace with it all and excited to follow my Lord into today and tomorrow.

He will swallow up death forever;

and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,

and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,

for the Lord has spoken.

Isaiah 25: 8

 

This life gives us plenty of reason to cry. We all face suffering and loss on a too regular basis. We also know with the certainty of the ages that our own days are short and are growing continually shorter. As we go through life it seems that God has created in us a paradox. For we are made to live in relationship with others and to seek out and find Godly purpose; yet, the length of our lives and the continuation of our relationships are fragile and often fleeting conditions. Yes, living in this world does give us reason to cry.

 

So, when we do shed those tears, we are not left alone. Christ has suffered the same losses that we are encountering, and He has also endured the pains of death that wrench our hearts and weary our minds. He is neither distant nor disinterested in our personal grief. Instead, Christ steps into our times of pain and grants us peace in the moment and understanding of eternity for tomorrow’s sake. In fact, it is in these darkest and most trying of times that God often seems most real and close at hand. He knows our sorrow, and He comforts our sorrowing.

 

Still, there is more. God has made a commitment to all of His creation. He will set it all right again. There will be a time to come when all that is broken, so all that is dying and death, will be done away with forever. This is the day when evil is destroyed and when this world will be replaced by one that is no longer sickened by the disease of sin. Until that day, all of us who know God will end this life by entering into the presence of Christ where we will live in the perfect peace and joy of our Lord’s unending embrace. Every tear that has ever coursed across our cheeks will be removed and the brokenness of our bodies and our hearts will be no more. For in Christ, there is eternal joy at the end of this journey.