This was a really weird week. I was frequently torn between emotions of exhilaration and grief. Somehow it did not all seem to make sense. This time of the year in Pennsylvania is just spectacular and God outdid Himself once again this spring. Though the winter hung around like a bad cold, these last few weeks have been just glorious and well worth the wait. Every day, something new is blooming, some new color is sprouting and the earth is being reborn. The morning is brighter earlier and earlier, the temperature is just about perfect and the sunsets – oh the sunsets.
And yet – the creation continues to groan. The ground shook for less than a minute in a remote part of the earth and thousands died. They did not see it coming, they could not prepare and they were gone in an instant. I watched a video of a hiker on Mt. Everest as an avalanche suddenly overtook the camp. It looked like a white wall of snow just attacked and then it was finished. As they dug out, the scale of catastrophe became apparent and it was almost unimaginable. In that short space of time, tens of thousands faced their mortality. Who can watch these images and not be moved to tears.
As if that were not enough, images of a boy being dragged into a police van limp and unresponsive filled the airwaves. Sometime between being stopped by police in the Baltimore neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester and arriving at the city’s western district police station in a van, Freddie Gray sustained an injury that killed him. He fell into a coma first, succumbing to his injuries in hospital a week later. Not surprisingly, anger at his treatment boiled over and the city seemed to erupt in violence. The images of buildings on fire, cars demolished and businesses looted reminded us all of how fragile a world we really live in.
Like a fog lifting off of a mountain, the images in the days following both events brought into stark reality the scale of what had taken place. Somehow though, in the midst of all chaos and destruction there were also images of redemption and restoration. As rescuers began to dig away at piles of debris and remove bricks from fallen structures, miraculous rescues began to take place. People who should not have survived did. Hundreds of pastors stood arm in arm in Baltimore to help restore the peace. Many concerned citizens went to the scenes of the looting and destruction with brooms and buckets to help with the cleanup.
At my moments of deepest despair this week at these tragic events, I was reminded of Revelation 21:4 where the Apostle John wrote, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Until that time comes, the earth will continue to groan and I will continue to long for heaven. Each sunset, each flower, each new plant is a reminder that our creator loves his creation and is revealing just a small portion of what He has in store for us on the other side. If we only see through a mirror dimly in this life, I can hardly imagine the beauty that is to come. In the meantime, I will mourn with those who mourn, weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who restore.