New Year, Same God
Of the many events that occurred in December, there is one that I still think of often: Susan D’Cruz’s funeral on December 18th. Susan was very young, in her early forties. She was known for her deep kindness. She had struggled immensely with the twin burdens of depression and cancer. Her death, in the middle of a season of anticipation and joy, seemed so tragic and unnecessary.
Paul delivered Susan’s funeral message, having spent more and more time with Susan as her condition worsened. In the middle of his message, Paul looked at and spoke to Susan’s mother, Norma. He shared Norma’s life-verse with those assembled:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31
Could God have given her this verse for this very moment? For Norma to hear her Wonderful Counsellor speak of his incomprehensible love on the day she buries her child? “An everlasting love.” A love without end. Deeper, even, than any pain caused by tragedy. Deeper because God has promised to “wipe every tear from” Norma’s eyes. The promise is not that the tears will dry up—the promise is that God will wipe them away. He does not simply will away the pain, he brings comfort where there is pain. Wiping away tears is one of the most intimate ways of comforting. Only my parents and my wife have wiped my tears away. And after this comforting, “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” But his love will remain.
During a season of celebration, my thoughts kept returning to December 18th. They still do as the new year has arrived. I think of my intemperate moods and fickle resolutions in contrast to the unchanging, unfailing and everlasting love of our God. If I meditated consistently on this love without end, would it lead me to readily repent, sincerely worship and love others joyfully?
At the end of every visit Paul had with Susan—visits that often contained difficult questions—he would say, “God loves you, Susan.” And God is saying this to us, too, “I love you, and have loved you, with an everlasting love.”
Peter de Koning, Communication Coordinator