If you are new to this story this is the short version: My mom has been home and receiving hospice care for the last 10 days or so, with her various children staying with her. Here are the links to part 1, part 2 and part 3.
It is Thursday morning and I have been back with her since Tuesday evening. She is gradually declining. Today is a better day, although that is a very relative term in these circumstances. Yesterday she slept virtually the entire day. Today she is awake and we are having some conversation fragments. They are fragments because she is driving the conversation, so to speak. We talk when she wants to, about what she wants to, changing topics as she wants to. So my reflections this morning have a bit of a random feel to them.
I have been following a one-year Bible reading plan and today’s section was Ecclesiastes 7 and 8. As I was preparing to read I was hoping that God would have something that would speak clearly to me this morning, something that would give me just what I needed to hear. I wasn’t sure what I needed to hear, but my inner voice was skeptical that it would be in Ecclesiastes. I figured that after reading the assigned text I would turn to read something more familiar and dearer to my heart. But God is a God of surprises and this morning’s surprise took a bit of time to unfold.
The first past was Ecclesiastes 7:26:
“And I find something more bitter than death; the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her.”
That verse reminded me of being a sinner and the tenacious grasp of sin in my life. And while this verse suggests that resisting the allure of the things that draw me away from God is my responsibility, the fuller message of the Bible is that God has already won the battle. The redemption any Christian receives is not through their own effort but only through the work of Jesus on their behalf. That is truly Good News!
Which led to another random thought. As I was looking at some things online I came across a link to this blog post on the Gospel Coalition website. After scrolling through the pictures of grooms as they get a glimpse of their bride on their wedding day there are a few well-written paragraphs about the wedding of the Bride and Groom in heaven, the wedding day that the best in earthly weddings point towards. Jared Wilson writes:
“For Christ and his Bride will have this moment of rapturous wedding joy for all eternity. The Lamb will receive the reward of his suffering, and of his love — the infinite worshipful devotion of his spotless bride.”
As I sit with my mom the words of Ecclesiastes and Wilson connect. I, and all Christians, will continue to wrestle with sin, seeking the forgiveness of a Lord who is infinitely rich in mercy, and trusting in his unfailing promises.
And I wrestle knowing that the best days lie ahead. The battle has been won and the eternal union that Christians will know with Him will be glorious in ways that we can barely imagine. Indeed, the very best is yet to come.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.