Monday, January 27, 2014

Funeral Clothes

We are attending a funeral tonight-- the funeral of a man who was quite generous and kind to our family during some very difficult years (years that still make us shake our heads and wonder why they had to be so toilsome and so unkind). Even though he was not young, I am still having a hard time grasping the fact that he is gone. His departure seemed sudden. I had just hugged him "goodbye" at Christmastime.

To prepare for tonight, we obviously need to wear dark dress clothes which, to most people, poses no real complaining problem. At least not for funerals.

Folks today complain about dressing up for almost anything: church, school, work, and weddings. You name the event; they have probably complained about it. I seldom hear a complaint about funeral clothes, though. While I am certain it happens, the severity of the situation necessitating the clothes strikes me as the reason for less protesting. A person has entered eternity beyond this world; in lieu of that, wearing dress clothes is not so severe.

In the same way, the severity of what Christ endured upon the cross should stifle our own complaints about the discomforts we experience in life--particularly the ones we undergo as a result of being His followers. We bemoan the fact that wicked or unfaithful men prosper while we, who are faithful to God's calling, suffer.

Listen carefully to the words of the Lord this morning:
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. 
(Psalms 37:7-9)
I know the pain of waiting when you're not a patient person, or when you are the one who has been wronged, or when it seems like evil men flourish and good men are constantly afflicted (or all three). But in lieu of enduring the weight of sin--the weight of the sin of all of mankind--our burden is not that great. What's more, if the Holy Spirit resides in us, we have the help of the One who was able to carry the weight of the world's sins.

Furthermore, I would like to point out that vengeance is not ours to administer. We are to wait patiently on the Lord to deliver us, though we may presently suffer for His name's sake. He will cut off the evil-doers. Our task is simply to wait.

While we may not see a reward this side of Heaven, God's Word and God's promises will not return void. Wait, my friends, on the Lord.