“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” ~ Ephesians 3 20-21
This past Tuesday, as we do every week, my roommate and I went to the nursing home in Manhattan to see his mother. Upon waiting for our ride home, I had a chance to read about the history of the home, and I share it with you. Once upon a time, a wealthy and philanthropic couple had a daughter Isabella whom they cherished. Isabella showed great compassion for the poor and infirm from an early age. When she passed away while still in her twenties, her parents honored her memory by establishing a house for poor, elderly, and infirm residents. And so, Isabella House was born, and now functions as a nursing home, senior housing location, day care center for adults and children, rehab hospital (both short and long-term), and home care center. Services are extensive and affordable, and many, many people benefit from them.
But none of it would exist today had it not been for that one initial tragedy of two parents losing their daughter. Now I know this is a touchy subject, with all the tragedy, violence, and destruction we’ve seen on the news lately. But I just want to remind you that in this world, there’s a plan. Nothing happens in vain. God is at work all the time even when it seems like our hours are darkest.
We get so stuck in the tunnel of our own lives, and all we see is our immediate surroundings and events. In reality though, we are but a small part of a greater plan, one that’s vast and intricately balanced. And sometimes it seems like things are terrible. But God has a way of coming through.
We get so stuck in our earthly problems – our problems, our passions, our achievements and struggles, our lives – that we forget how insignificant they really are. Sure, they’re important today. But tomorrow? Not so much. And once we’re in heaven the most major events of our lives will be a distant memory. No, I’m not saying that the lives of the nursing home residents are more important than Isabella Ottendorf’s life. But if life on earth is so temporary and quick, and heaven is such a better place, and she was already going there….I’m sure once she got there and saw how amazing it was, she didn’t mind going there a few years early.
It’s easy to get bogged down in our day-to-day lives, but our focus should be on eternity. In my growth group at church, a girl spoke about the loss of her brother. It was sad, she misses him, but through that grief her parents found God and were saved. Through pain came salvation. And we humans are a stubborn group. Sometimes we need the pain to push us forward to salvation. We need to remember to keep praying for perspective, that this too shall pass and that no matter how tragic the circumstances, God will work it out. I invite you to keep this in prayer with me, and to use this mindset to strengthen our gaze on the Kingdom.