When relaxing on the beach in Waikiki, who wants to be rescued from this “present evil age? “ But when we’re caring for an aging parent suffering in the claws of dementia, this present time doesn’t look so good. Yesterday morning I ate breakfast with three brothers, and I asked them about their Sunday family meal. Their two sisters had flown in to spend some time with their parents, and I was checking in about how it went. “Was dad able to come and sit at the table?” The middle brother responded, “Yes, with oxygen in tow he was there, but he didn’t recognize my sisters. And when you haven’t seen your precious dad, the one who all your life has been your super hero, and now he doesn’t even know your name or who you are, that’s tough!”
At our breakfast we’ve been studying the book of Thessalonians, and yesterday’s passage was chapter four in his first epistle where Paul stressed that we don’t sorrow over death like those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). In Galatians, where the Gospel is under siege, Paul goes right to the resurrection of Jesus in his opening statements.
“Paul, an apostle, not by human authority or by the act of any human individual, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, the one who raised him from the dead. Together with all the brothers and sisters with me, to the churches of Galatia: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, the one who gave himself for our sins, so that he might delivers us from this present evil age according to the will of God, even our Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Galatians 1:2-5
Paul is going to defend that “grace” is a basic reality of the Gospel (1:6, 15; 2:9, 21; 5:4; 618) and in Romans, he can even use it to sum up his entire message (Rom. 5:2). Isaiah predicted that a “suffering servant’ would offer himself as a sacrifice for our sins, and Paul could not be clearer—Jesus was this offering.
At the close of the breakfast when we were alone my friend said, “Seeing dad suffering and my sisters’ suffering –it is tough, but we do have a certain hope! Our tears are not hopeless tears.”
LORD, pour the grace and peace that only the confidence of resurrection gives into the lives of my precious friends as they journey with their dad as his physical mind and body weaken. Thanks that we don’t have to pretend there’s not anger, hurt, and questions, but that we know that the end of the Story is going to be grace and peace because Jesus has risen.
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