Yesterday we were talking about the circle of blessing & trials/sorrows (sort of), but one day the "judgment"(discipline) will be completed and there will be "no more sorrows", and God will "wipe away all tears". In our sermon series about Communion, David preached last Sunday about the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, for Christ and His Bride, the Church. (Communion does 3 things, as Carol said to the children: reminds us of Jesus’ death, that He loves us NOW, and that we’ll eat with Him someday at the Wedding Feast.) David pointed out that while most people don’t like to read Revelation and find it hard to understand (because it’s full of the symbolism of John’s day), it is basically a book of hope, and is "worthwhile reading". It is mainly an exhortation to be "steadfast"–to endure, and tells you why you should: for the joy that is to come at the culmination of it all; which is the joy of God’s vengeance (remember, He said "vengeance is mine"–but NOT to joy in what is happening to those who have rejected Him, but joy because God’s name is vindicated), the joy of worshiping God and of doing it together with that "vast throng" of saints, and of course the joy of celebrating at the Wedding Feast.
David reminded us that a Jewish couple began their marriage with the betrothal, which was so binding that you would have to get a divorce even if you hadn’t yet been completely married (and living with your spouse), if you wanted to be free of the other. The betrothal was a preparation time for both the bride and groom; it compares to Christians awaiting the Second Coming of Christ, Who has gone ahead "to prepare a place". The Jewish wedding ceremony begins with the Bridgegroom going to the Bride’s house to "capture" her and bring her to his home–where the feast begins. The wedding feast would last a week or more–but the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will go on forever! Fun times! :P
So, along those lines of HOPE, here is what was in our reading this morning:
"When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The "worst" is never the worst. Why? Because the Master won’t ever
walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.
He takes no pleasure in making life hard…" (Lamentations 3:28-33)