After this, I saw a large crowd with more people than could be counted. They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood before the throne and before the Lamb.
They wore white robes and held palm branches in their hands, as they shouted, "Our God, who sits upon the throne, has the power to save his people, and so does the Lamb." … One of the elders asked me, "Do you know who these people are that are dressed in white robes? Do you know where they come from?"
"Sir," I answered, "you must know." Then he told me: "These are the ones who have gone through the great suffering.
They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and have made them white.
And so they stand before the throne of God and worship him in his temple day and night.
The one who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
They will never hunger or thirst again, and they won’t be troubled by the sun or any scorching heat. The Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd.
He will lead them to streams of life-giving water, and God will wipe all tears from their eyes.
Spring is here and the days are getting warm enough for the kids to play outside.
I remember growing up in the country, and while my parents and my grandmother kept pretty close tabs on where we were, we had some freedom to just romp through the fields and forests, creating our own imaginary castles with dragons to fight and helpless victims to rescue!
At the end of the day when it was time to go home, we would hear the familiar call out the back door — "Time to eat," and if we were smart or even really hot and tired and hungry, we wasted no time in getting into the house where my grandmother was waiting to help us wash up and eat.
This week, a different shout rang through our house: "Did you hear what happened?"
These words rang out in response to the latest headlines on the Internet reporting the bombing in Boston.
As we listened in astonishment to the horrific details and read the reports that followed, we wonder, "Why do such bad things happen for no apparent reason?"
As we grow and learn, we are taught in science about cause and effect.
One very famous principle of physics is that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. But when it comes to suffering in the world, sometimes there is not a simple answer or even an intelligible reason for the bad things that happen to unsuspecting people.
One minute, someone is running a marathon, and the next minute, they are standing face to face with God.
One minute, an 8 year old is watching with great delight as runners breeze by, and the next minute, his family and friends are mourning over his lifeless and bleeding body.
And as much as we would like to believe that things happen according to cause and effect, these kinds of tragedies just don’t make sense.
It doesn’t add up. In Scripture, we are told over and over again that evil is in the world, and that life will not always make sense.
The wise author of Ecclesiastes tells us that there’s a time for everything, but the writer doesn’t tell us that the timing of it all has to make sense.
While the reasoning behind the stuff of life doesn’t always add up, we can rest assured that God walks with us through all that happens.
So where was God in Boston? God was holding the hands of the family who lost their 8-year-old son during the bombing.
God was with those who were dying because of the senseless, selfish act of a person driven by unknown motives to set bombs.
God was in the hands and feet of the countless people who forgot about the race to help those who were suffering.
And God walks with us through all that we face in this life and even into the life to come. As the passage in Revelation reminds us, Christ is standing at the end of it all.
Like my grandmother standing at the back door beaconing us to supper, Christ waits to welcome us into his glorious presence where there is no more dying, no more loss, no more crying, no more senseless bombing, and where we will finally be at peace for all eternity.
While life does not always make sense, are you trusting in the One who stands at the end of time and waits to welcome you home?
Rev. Jan McCoy is the associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at email@example.com.