It seems that relationships become more important as we grow older. Maybe it’s the realization that the fading pleasure in “things” rings hollow when compared to loving fellowship. We gain a greater appreciation and toleration for children (especially our grandchildren) and the pain of aging is surpassed only in the passing of old friends. The irony of all this is in the fact that it is in this older age that so many relationships, which we are finally beginning to value, are severed, and sometimes abruptly. The natural course of humanity is to pass away but this “fact of life” is still the death of us. Maybe that was Tom T. Hall’s message in his song about “Old Dogs”; maybe it wasn’t really about old dogs. Life is full of ironies.
We are at the end of another year and emotions of regret and contrition often monopolize many of its memories. Things we wish we had done or said are now relegated to past-tense; and there is no going back. I believe that is what makes New Year’s Eve, with its Auld Lang Syne, so burdensome. It is in that moment, as we reckon time, that one year is officially over and another begins.
God, who knows no restrictions in time (2 Peter 3:8), constantly implores His children to visualize the bigger picture where time and space are no longer relevant (Revelation 21:4). Through Christ, there is a peace that transcends all moments of doubt, fear, loss and human frailty (Philippians 4:7) and offers hope that no bleak forecast can overshadow for “if God is with us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31).
When we all get to Heaven (as the song goes), there will be no desire for earthly pleasures, no stress about being late, and no worry about losing loved ones or even losing weight; just relationships, relationships that go on endlessly in a bliss presently unattainable.
The Gospel message is endless in its hope of Heaven, and thwarts the irony of ended relationships. It is founded in a right relationship with God, which in turn creates a right relationship with all of God’s children. It is preached, taught and implied time and again. Let us nurture spiritual relationships while we have today, and let us make ready for the permanence for which God created us: fellowship in His presence and in the company of the redeemed.
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NKJV)
Have a Happy, Hopeful New Year.