Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 7, 2008
Light of Christ lends hope as I travel down a dark road
St. Peter urged us to endure trials in order to glorify Christ
My Glass is Half Full
By MARK PICKUP
Although my body is broken and wounded by advanced multiple sclerosis (MS), a light of hope in Christ sustains me. I depend upon an electric wheelchair for movement but my dark road still leads to a new horizon. A morning prayer proclaims:
Lord Jesus, you are the rising Sun, the first fruits of the future resurrection. Grant that we may not sit in the shadow of death but walk in the light of life. Christ, King of Glory, be our light and our joy.
He is the future resurrection but I can live in the present basking in his light. Despite increasingly profound disability (only my left arm is unaffected by disease), I know that just as my Redeemer lives, so shall I. Even though my body is being slowly and steadily destroyed, I will be brought forth as gold.
Like Job, I live with the hope that even though I may die, in my flesh I shall be made new to see God as he is.
Words fail me! Oh how I long to see the triune God, my hope and my joy.
Torments of a chronic illness and degenerative disability have lasted for nearly a quarter of a century; multiple sclerosis has turned my formerly healthy and athletic body into a living carcass.
Small voice resonates
During periods of deepest crisis, the clamour of terror drowns out everything save a small voice resonating Psalm 46 with my internal hearing: "Be still, and know that I am God." The Lord of hosts is with me. He is my refuge.
My world has been shaken to its very foundations yet the psalmist assures me from across the ages that God is a refuge for suffering humanity - our strength and help in times of trouble.
I know this is true, and the psalmist says, "We will not be afraid." Yet in my weakest moments, I am afraid. My heart has so often been troubled and filled with dread at what lays ahead of me with a terrible disease and the fear that I might be abandoned and forgotten in a nursing home.
Didn't Jesus say, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Yes, he did. He told his disciples that he was going away but would come back for them. He told them a permanent home awaited them (and us) with the Father in heaven.
St. Peter told us to endure trials and use them to glorify God. St. Paul said that earthly trials borne in faith can produce spiritual fruits that include perseverance that builds character, which leads to hope that does not disappoint.
The hope that does not disappoint is this: I will see Christ as he is and that I will know just as I am known. I will be where Jesus described when he said:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
"If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am, you also may be."
I read my Lord's words and my heart soars. He spoke of our eternal home! An inexpressible longing for eternity that has ached deep within my heart, since the dawn of human memory, will finally be satiated.
St. Paul referred to this eternal satisfaction or completion when he wrote: "At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known." This occurs in heaven.
St. Augustine thought of God's heaven as being a "kind of intellectual creature that continually gazes upon the sweet essence of the triune God and holds so close to him as to escape the fluttery oscillations of time."
I will know fully as I am known fully. The reason and necessity for my present trials, sorrow and tears will be known in their full dimensions. The reasons for my suffering will no longer matter for I will join the rapt gaze upon the sweet essence of the triune God and hold close to Christ.
He shall wipe away every tear and make all things new. I will hear him say, "I shall be his God, and he will be my Son" (Revelation 21:7).
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