Tuesday, 20 December 2016

On Tuesday Peter's body died. Roll the stone aside! Part 2.

"Oh my, Oh, my goodness! Oh, wow!  Mom…? Dad…? Donna Jean!!! Uncle Harry, is that you?!  Oh, my! Oh, my goodness! Jesus!!! Oh, Sweet Lord! I’m really here! Thank you LORD! Thank you, thank you!”

Right now I’m trying to imagine what (my brother-in-law) Peter experienced sometime around 4:00am Tuesday morning.  As the Apostle Paul said, “That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.’  My focusing on Peter’s present and incomprehensible joy is a sweet distraction from my own present sadness.

Belief in God is a strange thing in many ways.  For the believing Christian, there is a certain knowledge that comes from an intimate relationship with God.  It is not a ‘hypothetical belief’ or experience, it is literal. The faith part of the relationship is simply the trust that God is all He says He is and will do all the things He says He will do.

About a year ago, after his diagnosis of brain cancer, I was walking along the road with Peter as we ventured to a local restaurant.  He suddenly broke into tears as the love of God momentarily overwhelmed him.  This was not a faith experience for Peter, this was God touching him at the very core of his being – a literal touch.

Yet, sometimes we doubt.  Is my experience unique? Are my thoughts and beliefs rational? What if I’m wrong?  I know Peter experienced similar thoughts at different times in his life.  It almost sounds like an illogical argument; sometimes we doubt, yet even in our darkest times when our doubts are greatest, we are still compelled to believe.  And then God comes alongside to reassure us.  I am His and He is mine and nothing in all Creation can separate us – He from me, or I from Him.

This past Saturday evening a group of us had the joy of listening to the Toronto Mass Choir in the magnificent sanctuary at Tyndale University.  It was a momentous expression of outrageous joy!  Seventy singers shouting and singing praises with all their being to the One to whom Peter and I have entrusted our lives and who gave His life for us.  No, my experience is not unique.  Thank you, God, for once again reassuring me in a moment of outrageous celebration!

Before God got ahold of me I thought belief in God was simply irrational.  Who would want to believe in a being that was supposedly untouchable and unknowable?  It simply did not make any sense.  Now, I view things from the other side of the curtain.  Now, I cannot comprehend why so many people choose to live ‘on the dark side’?  To me, now, living on the dark side is that which is completely irrational, when the God, who is love, invites us to experience the superlative joy of knowing Him. Forever!

For a while I will miss Peter, my older brother [in-law], BUT I can thank God for his life, for the brotherly friendship we knew and especially for the sure and certain knowledge that we will yet again embrace in the Throne Room of Heaven.