"...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." --Isaiah 40:31
...and Dan, who seems to be going through a similar sort of catharsis as mine right now, and ME, and anyone else who can be comforted. And I hope it's not seen as "preaching"--it is Christian-centric, because, well, that's what we are. But...stick with me for a minute and you'll see why I wanted to share this.
My mom, in one of those instances of timing that the unsure, or unaccustomed, to living by faith, among us might call "coincidence," recently came quite accidentally across a page of notes made by my dad in preparation for a Bible study on Revelation; in this particular instance, Chapter 7, Verses 9-17 (NIV):
The Great Multitude in White Robes
9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
"Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb." 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
13 Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?"
14 I answered, "Sir, you know."
And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15Therefore,
"they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
16 Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat upon them,
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Dad had outlined four themes he evidently planned to emphasize in teaching his class. I will transcribe them here as he wrote them--like bullet points, in shorthand, and all caps, as was his habit:
1. CLOTHED IN WHITE--Washed by Jesus' blood & cleansed
2. HOLDING PALM BRANCHES--Celebrating Victory in Jesus
3. COUNTLESS IN NUMBERS--THOSE THAT ARE GOING TO BE IN HEAVEN, NO ONE COULD COUNT--FROM EVERY NATION, EVERY TRIBE, EVERY LANGUAGE
*All of this is possible through Jesus Christ, and only through Jesus Christ*
4. BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD--Serving God Day & Night (close to God) v-15
NO MORE BAD OR WANTS OR NEEDS OR PAIN OR SADNESS--GOD WILL WIPE AWAY EVERY TEAR!
I love that last part, and it is so wonderful to hear it now, from him. He was obviously making notes in a hurry, and I just adore how he squashed all the evils and suffering of this world into the phrase "NO MORE BAD." It wasn't great writing, but it was fantastic expression, and it would have evolved into a beautiful spoken message, I know. I love him so much for this additional, unexpected gift to me. Not only telling me that there will come a time when I will no longer be sad, or hurt, or insecure...but that he is already there, with God in the land of NO MORE BAD.
That shall me my mantra, I think. For both my life here, and as a reminder of what follows.
NO MORE BAD.
I can hear him right now, as I heard him so often in my life, saying, "Baby, you've got to stop crying now." Gosh, he hated it when I was hurt in any way and cried.
(And Jen...I wouldn't be surprised if he were one of the first people to welcome Lorraine--I've asked him to-- and if they spent a while watching the "pearly gates" for the expressions on the faces of people who are surprised that "their kind" are NOT the only ones allowed in!)