Today is Memorial Day in the United States. Many people are off from work today, and I’m using this time to thank the men and women who sacrificed their lives for the freedom we enjoy in this very moment. My paternal grandfather served in WWII in north Africa, and he won the Purple Heart for saving two men from a burning tank. My pa was a kind man to my brothers and me, and his prayers were deep reflections into his heart for his love for God and family. His tears when he and ma departed from visiting were also heartfelt expressions of love I’ll never forget.
I was a youth pastor years ago when pa was in Belmont Terrace, and I took the student ministry on a service trip to visit him. They also ministered to his roommate Moses. I have pictures from that trip, and those days are some of the many fond memories I have with ma and pa in this great city. Belmont Terrace is no longer there off of Wedgewood near Vanderbilt, but the memories from 12 South to Goodloe to Brentwood will always exist in my mind. The Big Band music that I love to this day is a soundtrack that commemorates an eternal love for all my grandparents, and when Carey and I would visit Fido or pa at the Terrace memories attached themselves in our minds that will go with us to our graves.
God’s love is powerful, and its power transforms generations. Suffering makes us stronger, and the longing for family who have passed on makes that love even deeper. Death was never part of God’s plan, but our sin is what drags into the reality of death. We have hope because God created hope alongside death, but because of Jesus hope will outlive death, hence the reason I write these words. Nashville, Tennessee is my home, and I’ve been part of this amazing city since my birth. Jesus continues to work among us to bring hope to those who despair, and even when we think darkness has won may there be a fraction of hope that sustains us.
Suffering is never welcomed, and waiting with no “prospect” for when the suffering will end know we have a Creator who sees so much more than we see. I don’t understand why he allows suffering, and I understand even less for why he creates hope for us to rise. We have bitter sweet lives this side of eternity, and I’m no different than you in contemplating the time when death and suffering will be no more. As a believer I know why it is here, and I’ll never not believe in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean I’m not susceptible to the brokenness that is here.
Memorial Day will not be necessary when we enjoy our new bodies, but in some strange way I hope we remember the pain and anguish we went through here even if we are still here on a new Earth. There’s no way of knowing what the new Earth will be like, but that’s not the point. The point is that as we remember those who have gone before us is that Emmanuel defines us. My pastor shared with us Ephesians 1.15-23; 3.20 yesterday, and I encourage you to close this post by opening your Bibles to read those two passages.
I’ll probably see you tomorrow. Grace and peace.