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A word in season

"Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up." Proverbs 12.25 Use of this verse by the preacher in the on-line Church of Scotland Gaelic service on Sunday struck me powerfully. Duncan Sneddon, the Kirk's Gaelic Development Officer, was preaching about Jesus' empathy with people in moments of crisis, even where he was on the cusp of applying his divine power to meet the needs of the occasion. Numerous examples were offered, including the raising of Lazarus. Famously Jesus weeps, so swept up was he in the prevailing mood of desolation. And this, despite the awareness that he was about to restore Lazarus to those who were mourning his loss! God, in his wisdom, does not make a habit of stepping in and removing distress and suffering - yet. There are reasons for this. But ultimately all such aberrations will be dealt with in the culmination of the Father's redeeming of the world through Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. With this happy prospect before us, we are sustained day to day by the occasional examples of divine intervention, which such events as the raising of Lazarus or the Feeding of the 5000 or the Calming of the Storm offer. And here is where the Proverb comes in. In tragic circumstances, such as at a funeral, it goes without saying that what everyone wants is for the one who has died to be restored to those who are grieving. Yet there is the painful awareness that is not going to happen. But Christians have an answer. We are witnesses, through the scriptures we trust, of Jesus of working exactly that miracle (which everyone desperately desires but doesn't believe can happen). And he will do the same for those who trust him today but in a far superior way. Being raised to everlasting life is surely better than being raised to die again? Yet Lazarus' example offers us a momentary glimpse of what God will do eternally. Gently sharing this "reason for the hope within us" must amount to that "kind word" which can cheer the heart like nothing else...



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