God with us

We had our first frost of the fall yesterday. The kids and I went out after lunch and finished digging up the rest of the sweet potatoes. I didn’t document the journey much here, but the sweet potatoes were definitely my favorite gardening project. After ordering 100 starter plants, receiving 125 in the mail, giving away 15 to a friend, planting the rest, and then having close to 40 of them die in the first weeks, the ones that remained grew wonderfully. If I were to do it again, I’d plant every plant start the day they arrive in the mail, instead of planting half one day and half another. I also would more look into what would make good fertilizer for the soil and as they’re growing. The sand ended up being a good place to plant them.

I got a text early this morning from a friend letting us know that one of our former kittens had been hit by a car and died. In our last litter of kittens, we’d kept one and she took the other two to go live with her in the country. The kids and I had just been down there last week to visit. I was, of course, saddened by the news, and shed some tears at the thought of the end of this sweet animal’s relatively short, roughly two and a half year life. I told the kids this morning after our opening for school. Today was Psalm 30, with the words “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

In Christianity, we believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins. His death was a necessary action in order to atone for the sins of the world, to make a way for man to once again live and dwell with God. I never want to downplay the forgiveness of sins, because forgiveness is something we all need and needed. This might sound unholy, or reveal some old Adam remains of self-righteousness, but I haven’t always been one to want God to deal with me in terms of my sin. Where I find myself relating, and what I want someone to deal and do something about, is pain and sadness.

I don’t know any other philosophy or religion that deals with it like Jesus does. The word of the Lord breaks into the darkness, and in Revelation 21:3-4, God’s word goes so far as to say, with a loud voice from the throne, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall their be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” No other religions even come close to touching pain and sadness this way, to dealing with what I want so directly.

People say music is therapy, and I can see that. I’ve long been drawn to sad and melancholy music, as it seems to be one of the few things I can find that can match and attach itself to what’s inside me. It’s almost like a way of blood-letting for the soul, of dealing with a sick and wounded heart. It’s why people write songs and why people turn on the radio and keep on listening. I can love the sad songs, but they take me nowhere, and are not the whole of what’s inside me. Unless one’s goal is chronic anemia and infection, history eventually showed us that blood-letting wasn’t a healthy or effective way of treating sickness or disease, and after awhile, I need something more than a song that understands. I need an entirely new song altogether.

God gives me that too, putting something else inside me other than a hopeless storyline with no resolution. Faith believes in Jesus as Savior. Hope looks to, waits for, Jesus as Savior. Love–oh where does one find words to describe it!–delights in the truth of Jesus as Savior. A few posts ago I said something like “Jesus is forever our hope and joy”, yet that is not entirely accurate. Hope is only a temporary present, given right now for this current age. What we as Christians look to, what we as lovers and believers of Jesus wait for, as stated in the Nicene creed, is the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. While God’s at it, wiping away every tear from our eyes, we might as well watch as the river of life runs with the hope of every healed and song-filled heart. There hope will be no longer needed.

Seek Where You May to Find a Way
LSB #557
(a song we sang in church this past Sunday)

Seek where you may to find a way
That leads to your salvation
My heart is stilled, On Christ I build
He is the one foundation
His Word is sure, His works endure
He overthrows all evil foes
Through Him I more than conquer

Seek whom you may to be your stay
None can redeem his brother
All helpers failed, This man prevailed
The God-man and none other
Our servant King of whom we sing
We’re justified because He died
The guilty being guiltless

Seek Him alone, who did atone
Who did your souls deliver
O seek Him first, all you who thirst
For grace that fails you never
In every need, seek Him indeed
To every heart, He will impart
His blessing without measure

My heart’s delight, My crown most bright
O Christ, my joy forever
Not wealth nor pride nor fortune’s tide
Our bonds of love shall sever
You are my Lord; Your precious Word
Shall guide my way, and help me stay
Forever in Your presence

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