13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four[a] horns of the golden altar before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 So the four angels were released, who had been held ready for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, to kill a third of humankind. 16 The number of the troops of cavalry was two hundred million; I heard their number. 17 And this was how I saw the horses in my vision: the riders wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire[b] and of sulfur; the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths. 18 By these three plagues a third of humankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they inflict harm.
20 The rest of humankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands or give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their fornication or their thefts.
So…I have a cold right now, and I am achy with a stuffy nose, a cough, the whole nine yards!
But it is just a cold…nothing more serious, not the flu, not Ebola, and not a plague of any type; but it is inconvenient, as I don’t have the time to be sick, I have work, teaching Sunday school, housework, my daughter, this blog, and I would like to spend time with my girlfriend too…but I am wiped out and don’t feel like doing much of anything right now…
Then again, being sick is never convenient is it? Especially for us as single parents, because when the rubber hits the road we seldom have back up…like when it is time to get our kids up for school, or put them to bed at night, or help them with homework, their personal worries, taking them to their friends’, sports, etc. It can be a lot of work taking care of our kids (and ourselves) when we are feeling well, it can be even more of a trial when we are sick!
Sometimes when bad happens to me I can find myself blaming God; as when bad things happen it can feel like it is judgment, or karma…like I am getting what I deserve for having done some not so nice things in my life…for having fallen short of God’s glory on more often than I would like to admit…for not being a good enough parent to keep my daughter on the ‘right track’ in life, and to keep her safe from the temptations of the world.
But even though it may sometimes feel that way, I do not believe this is how God works…instead, I believe that God wants us to be happy joyous and free…not to know pain, illness and worry, but to know love!
Like the love that we share with our children!!!
Bad things happen to us because our world is a broken place: broken by war, violence, conflict, disagreements, and most of all…misunderstandings!! In the midst of our broken world where we have to deal with diseases and dis-ease and things that are just not fair, there is hope!!
The hope is that God is with us, loves us and wants only what is best for us. This hope is given to us through Christ, and through those of us who follow him…together. It is this hope that we are given in today’s reading…as this passage is not so much about God’s wrath, but about God’s love!
For this passage from Revelations was written to give hope to those who had been persecuted for their faith in Christ. It was a message of hope, a reminder that God was with them and that those who were seeking to harm them were doomed to failure and loss, while those who remained faithful were bound for glory!
It is this hope that is with us today, no matter what we may be facing: whether it is a nasty cold or a more serious illness, struggles with our children over friends, school, staying out too late, or addiction issues, worries over money or work, or a feeling of lost opportunities; even when life feels unfair as we have done the ‘next right thing’ over and over again, only to face more challenges rather than receiving rewards!
It is this hope…and faith, that can give us support and comfort when life seems unfair; and when we share this hope with each other, it can light our way through any darkness and bring us through to the joy of a new morning, reminding us that love is our greatest gift, and that we are blessed to be able to share this gifts with our children…one day at a time!
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for giving us hope in the midst of our unfair world! Help us to remain faithful to you, to our children and to share our faith with each other. Let us offer each other the support, comfort and love that we need to sustain us through the difficult days. Let our faith light the way to your glory, allowing us to see that it is never your Will that any of us suffers…but that you want us to be happy, joyous and free; especially free to enjoy the great gift of love, given to us in our children!