Saturday, April 3, 2010

On such a night as this

It was a long day, full of work which never seems to get signed off—it just perpetuates. There were errands to run, a meeting, and a music rehearsal at church. The seventeen hours I’ve been up and running have drained me. The stress of relationships at work, in the church, in the family, and the longing for love is always simmering inside, too.

But--the Passover full moon has been up over the horizon for a couple of hours. The night sky is so bright with the moon that I can see the jagged rim of the mountains, and the porch lights of homes along the ridge miles away. A bird calls from a nearby tree. I just can’t breathe deeply enough: the citrus groves release intoxicating perfume from waxy white blossoms at the same time that my patio’s lavender wisteria and pink jasmine scent wafts on the gentle breeze. There’s not quite enough wind to stir the chimes, but enough to riffle my hair. My bare feet are crossed on the patio chair across from me.

Mali pounces on a spot in the grass where she can hear a vole or gopher digging under the surface. Abby skitters around under the porch light, chasing a moth. Evie chews on a ball and tosses it hopefully toward my feet. All is quiet in the neighborhood, and I sigh with content--and reluctance that soon I’ll have to lock up the house and go to sleep. It’s almost a shame to be unconscious and miss such a night as this.

On such an evening, I can’t imagine the terror and stress of painting lamb’s blood on the Hebrew doorposts to keep away the threat of death. Nor can I envision leaving my home in the middle of the night to escape a holocaust. I’m grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and that his blood identifies me as his child. The threat of hell has passed over me, and the promise of eternal life in his kingdom has already begun.

I can revel in the spring air, which God has perfumed to delight the senses, and relax in that Sabbath-rest he’s given to us by fulfilling and completing the law, and replacing a written code with the words he speaks to my heart. That rest is knowing that I am safe and secure in God’s hands, both physically and spiritually.

So although I will sleep tonight with the dog lying on the floor nearby, and the windows closed for security, my soul rests in the knowledge that my place in eternity is a done deal. And when I wake, I pray to remember that Jesus' resurrection means that the places in my heart that died of grief and injury will be created anew, like the bare, gray twigs of wisteria burst into giant spikes of spicy sweetness.

There is life after death, and there is life after despair, because Jesus took our infirmities and our rightful punishment, to give us his health and his reward.

God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:3-5 NLT

For since the world began,
no ear has heard,
and no eye has seen a God like you,
who works for those who wait for him! Isaiah 64:4 NLT

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