I’ve been thinking a lot about the purpose of life. I believe God creates us for an eternal relationship with him. In that relationship we bring him glory and both him and ourselves joy. We are born to begin this relationship while walking through time. So, if eternity is ‘set in our hearts’; if eternity is the truth of our existence, why, oh why do we have to go through the 70 years of time? That 70 or so years inevitably brings a share of pain and grief so why not just be born into the sweet joy of eternity?
I’m beginning to conclude that our time on earth has great value in getting to know God. When I think of heaven I think of a place with no more tears, no more pain, no more suffering. This will be a place of unmitigated joy. Inevitably then, I see the God of this place as a happy being who knows no pain or sorrow. But when I think deeper into this, I realize this happy-faced, sorrow-less God isn’t the God I know from scripture. I know that Jesus wept at the death of his friend (Jn 11:35 – what comfort this gives me), that He sorrowed to the point of death (Mt.26:38; Mk 14:34), that He had to suffer much and be rejected (Mk. 8:31; 9:12; Lk 17:25). This God that I know and serve is intimately acquainted with sorrow, pain, grief and tears. His deepest pain comes from broken relationship and His greatest purpose is the redemptive work that restores relationship.
In some small way as I deeply mourn the loss of my earthly relationship with Becky, I begin to sense the devastation of sin that is manifested in death. At the first choice of Adam and Eve to sin relationship was broken and death entered the world. God felt that loss so deeply that He fully entered into the plan to take death onto Himself so that death could be banished and not be the eternal end to relationship. How I love this God! And how losing Becky has enhanced my understanding of the pain of death and sin and the love of God manifested in redemption.
I’m still muddling through – I know I see through a glass darkly and don’t really understand what God has done. But I know more than I did five weeks ago. In what seems a huge contradiction to me I find myself falling deeper in love with this God who is acquainted with pain.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV
“What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven – and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all – life healed and whole.” 1 Peter 1:3-5 The Message