“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
The book I finished recently dealt mainly with prayer. Yet most of the passages I liked were about the soul and preparing for life after death. This is a bit curious to me since death hasn’t touched me intimately lately or been on my mind necessarily. I think perhaps it was the hope offered by the quotes that touched me the most?
“What is a human soul? We can neither see it nor measure its activity on graph paper as we can the mind and heart. Skeptics even doubt its existence. But for the believer at prayer, nothing matters more than the soul. We also pray to prepare ourselves for the life that continues after heart and mind fall still.” – Philip Yancey, Prayer
That last line was the one that really got me. My heart and my mind have been a bit on overdrive in the last little while – my heart hurting for those around me (for friends and family or merely for people I hear about through the media) and my mind spinning with new possibilities (in my career, in my relationships, in my living situation, etc). In the middle of all this, I sensed the author give me a bit of a perspective shift with his words.
The next quote also helps with this shift because it touches on the hope I mentioned earlier. It reminds me that we all live in the tension between the now and the not yet. While the quote deals specifically with death as the end (or is it the beginning?), it also talks about what it is like to live in the in-between.
“For the Christian, death also involves an anticipation of new beginning. We let go bodies that have served us, not perfectly but well enough, in exchange for new bodies. We let go a known life, touched with grace and pleasure but also evil and pain, in exchange for the promise of a life perfected. We let go the muddle of doctrine and wavering faith in exchange for sure knowledge at last. And during the rest of life, we prepare for the exchange.” – Philip Yancey, Prayer
In my life right now (and in the world around us as well) this “new beginning” offers such comfort that one day the imperfections of our body, the evil and pain we experience, and our muddled doctrine and wavering faith will all be swept away. What a relief to realize we can look forward to such a time! And yet, as the quote touches upon, to also know we can prepare well for this in the here and now.
A Bible verse that came immediately to mind was Revelation 21:3-4: “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
It is encouraging to think of the “old order” – such as our unhealthy ways of coping with the hard issues we face in this fallen world – gone and stripped away. And not just stripped away but exchanged for something so much better! Jesus said it best when he said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this? (John 11:25-26).
**I’m linking up with Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart today. Click on the image below to find other great posts in the linkup too!**