Happenings, News

‘Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal’

Daniel 12

DAHLIA was a beautiful woman with a wonderful husband and two adorable children. A family to die for. A family now dead. She had been out that fateful night. Teaching English for a group of neighbourhood kids. When she returned home, she found her husband and children tied up and gagged, dying in a pool of their own blood. Victims of a senseless and violent robbery.

Dahlia’s name is borrowed, but her story is true. There are many Dahlias in this world. The details may differ, but the deep sense of unfairness, the anguished questions of “Why?”, the aching loneliness and despair — all these are felt by people all over the world. Is this how Dahlia’s tragic story will end?

There are two terrible injustices here. The first is that, as far as we know, the murderers have not been caught and punished. Justice has not been done, and the pain is unresolved. But then there is the second and bigger problem. Even if these monsters were caught, their punishment will not bring back Dahlia’s husband and children back to life. She lives on with the ongoing pain of having lost them in such a violent way.

Life isn’t fair. It is often most cruel. That was the kind of world that I, Daniel, lived in. A world in which good people – saints, even – were often killed by swords or burnt in flames by cruel plunderers (see Daniel 11:33).

But let your imagination free. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a fairy tale ending to Dahlia’s story? A fairy tale ending in which the poisoned and dead sleeping beauty got up from the dead and lived happily ever after? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Dahlia’s family members are resurrected to life again, with new bodies and no scars whatsoever? And the thugs who did this cruel deed are caught and humbled, punished, shamed and repentant, whilst the woman is reunited with her loved ones and they all live happily ever after? What decent human being would not wish for such a wonderful happy ending for Dahlia?

In the brutal and cruel world that I lived in, God gave me the promise of just such an incredible fairy tale ending. Read Daniel 12:3. “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”

Thomas More put it this way: “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” The apostle Paul was convinced of this too. He spent most of his final years in a dark, damp prison cell. Five times he was sentenced to 39 lashes of the cane. He was falsely accused, and his message of love terribly misunderstood. And in the end, he was executed because of it.

His was a life of much suffering and little earthly joy. Yet this same man, whilst in a prison cell, wrote to others with these words, “Be of good cheer. The God of love and peace is with us. I consider the sufferings of this present world to be nothing compared to the glory that will be awaiting us.” (2 Cor 13:11; Rom 8:18)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if these hopes of a fairy tale ending — of an eternity of living happily ever after — could actually come true?

The God of the book of Daniel says, “They can come true. I promise. Trust in me. Be faithful. Be patient. Walk on to the end.” (Daniel 12:13).

The Rev Dr Gordon Wong, District Superintendent (East) of Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC), is a lecturer at Trinity Theological College.