While considering the recent loss of a family member, I have been pondering the nearly antithetical relationship between pain and hope. These words don't seem to fit together and yet we so often find them side by side:
Pain and suffering hangs like a dense fog in the atmosphere of our lives. Sorrow is ever present. For our obituary pages are always full, as are our hospitals and jail cells.
The sustaining power of hope holds us fast like an anchor holds a storm tossed ship. We are granted hope that is deep enough and strong enough to get us through what must be endured here.
There is no shortage of hope-filled passages in the Scriptures, but this one is probably my favorite:
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "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 as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment."
- Revelation 21:3-6
Though this world is indeed filled with sorrow and heart-ache, there is a life sustaining hope in Christ.
“When we shall come home and enter to the possession of our Brother's fair kingdom, and when our heads shall find the weight of the eternal crown of glory, and when we shall look back to pains and sufferings; then shall we see life and sorrow to be less than one step or stride from prison to glory; and that our little inch of time - suffering is not worthy of our first night's welcome home to heaven.”
- Samuel Rutherford, The Loveliness of Christ