Life under the sun

Today was one of those funny days where something just cuts through the ordinariness of life. Often life seems so normal, but from time to time it’s heightened as you marvel at something wonderful. But then the reality of death and suffering sets in and you’re left in despair. This dance of the ordinary, the beautiful and the broken is life as we know it under the sun.

With the kids trialling day care, we had a few hours up our sleeve to explore Melbourne. We were enjoying uninterrupted conversation and the freedom of spontaneity (remember that?). We had a nice lunch and caught the tram into Melbourne’s CBD.

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What a shock to hop off the tram and see the huge floral tribute to the victims of the Bourke Street tragedy. Five dead and at least thirty injured. As we pushed through the crowd we saw so many sad faces, people deeply disturbed by the senseless death of fellow human beings. Even as we were enjoying our day, we were reminded of the horror of death and the brokenness of creation.

Later we walked through the zoo and wondered at the bizarre array of creatures. What astonishing beauty and diversity there is among the animal kingdom! How amazing is God to make giraffes and meerkats? How can we not speak of the goodness of life and God’s incredible creative power?

This is life under the sun – the beautiful and the ugly, blessing and curse, life and death side by side. It’s hard to process these contradictory experiences and it’s impossible to understand them. Without God we would despair of life itself. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

Yet we praise God because despite our circumstances He is unchanging. And although we can’t make sense of this creation, we live in certain hope of a new one. Thanks be to Jesus, who lived and died on this fallen earth only to rise as the firstborn from among the dead. And when this earthly life is over – whether it was mundane or privileged or painful – we who follow him will share in His life forever.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away”. Revelation 21:3-4 (ESV)

— Stef