He will swallow up death for ever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove His people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. 9 In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.’
For many of us around the world we have lived in what feels like an unreal world these last two months. However, for a proportion of us who have access to modern technology there has been the world of ‘zoom’ that allows us to meet with other people online where we can see and speak with one another.
These can be important times of social interaction that we may be reluctant to conclude. The video clip below might have captured the end of a zoom meeting had this technology been invented then! For those who like a little humour injected into proceedings – here is a classic clip on the subject of ‘goodbyes’
However, in all seriousness, at the present time saying goodbye to a loved one or friend who has died is an acutely difficult process to handle. Under more normal circumstances we can gather for a funeral service that allows us collectively to consider and reflect on the person’s life in the context of Christian worship service. At the present time there are restrictions on the numbers that can attend funeral services and the opportunities for refreshment and conversations afterward are simply not possible. We long for a time when there will be no more goodbyes’.
Isaiah in a message projecting forward into the future portrays a time coming when God will bring in a new age in which there will be no more tears of sadness. There will be no place for fear and worry about the future, because God has taken care of it all. In fact, there will be no more goodbyes. What points does he highlight for us in his portrayal of the future?
1. Death is not forever I do need to qualify this statement a little. Isaiah was not visualising a time in this life when death was no longer a feature of human existence. Unfortunately, death is and will be the experience of everyone who dies before Jesus’ return to earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords at the end of the age. Instead this eighth-century BC Jewish prophet was envisaging a future experience of life on earth as God had intended for us. Death has no place beyond the grave in the future God has prepared for us. The painful separations we experience in the here and now will never be replicated. Praise God for that.
2. Sadness will be banished The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces… Death is hard enough to face, but that is not the only cause of our sadness. There are many situations in life that can cause tears to flow. The life God has prepared for us beyond this life, says Isaiah, is qualitatively different because the kind of scenarios where tears are expected will be absent from the future God has planned for us. Can you truly imagine a life of deep joy and satisfaction without frustrations and tears? One day says Isaiah this will be our experience.
3. Our faith will become sight In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.’ What a day it will be when our hopes become our reality, because God has kept His promises! The best is always still to come for the follower of Jesus. We have so much to look forward to. What we are going through now is only temporary! Praise God for that! Amen
Our song for reflection today is: ‘There’s a place where the streets shine’