This Old World...
There are certainly seasons in my life when I am so in love with all that beauty of this world that my heart aches with the thought that I'd ever need to leave. Such moments unfold in the midst of good honest conversations by candlelight, or when topping out a hard climb, or sitting in the backyard during a quiet sunrise with the birds singing their own doxology, or when doubled over with laughter while with friends or family.
But it's also true that there are days when I know exactly what Paul means when he says, "to be with Christ is better". Today is one of those days, as wave upon wave of suffering and loss of have pummeled my soul in the past few days. The cyclone hit, leaving untold thousands dead, and multiples of that number displaced in a nation whose leaders couldn't possibly care less about their own people and are hoarding relief supplies while the suffering and disease grow by the hour. Then there was an earthquake in China. In the midst of this I heard from friends, a young married couple. The husband received more bad news about a blood disease, and things look even more challenging. Another good friend died of brain cancer, and I just returned from the doing the funeral.
My God. I'm tired of the intrusion of disease and death, of suffering and loss, of doubt and betrayal, of violence and darkness. Maranatha means "Come quickly Lord Jesus!" and the invitation is a real one. How I long for the day when all this will be behind us, and only that which has its origin in Christ will remain. That's something worth waiting for; living for; dying for. The funeral from which I just returned was that of man who lived in such a way that this hope oozed out of his very being, contagiously, like a good virus. God, make me that kind of person - fill me with that kind of hope. And as long as I'm asking for things, "maranatha..."