The Trumpet Will Sound
Today I got to be part of something very special.
Today, I stood with my friend, surrounded by his loved ones, celebrating as he walked out of his last radiation treatment. It was a day of joy and thanksgiving that showcased the power of a healing God and the miracle of modern medicine. It was a day of rejoicing, as my friend walked into a new chapter of his life after a long struggle and a season of uncertainty.
It wasn’t that long ago that he had received the bad news, and today, as we prayed a prayer of thanksgiving, I couldn’t help but recall the prayer we prayed together several months ago. That day, of course, was different. That day was filled with sorrow and fear, even as we clung to hope and prayed for healing. That day, the thought of walking out of the final round of treatments seemed like a dim light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
And yet, by the grace of God, here we are!
It’s amazing how quickly life can change. All of us are one phone call away from unforeseen circumstances changing nearly everything about the way our life unfolds. And at the beginning of those seasons of change, it can seem nearly impossible to believe that things will ever feel normal again.
As a pastor, I’ve had the privilege of walking that road with many people over the years. I’ve been blessed to cry with them as they faced uncertain days ahead, and in many cases, have been able to be there with them again as a witness to the miracle of healing.
And, yes, sometimes, I have stood by when the healing didn’t come as expected; when the miracle didn’t come.
The truth is, life doesn’t always go as we expect. Sometimes, prayers aren’t answered in the ways that we hope, and healing doesn’t come in the ways that we think it will. I have held parents as they mourned the death of a child. I have counseled people as their loved ones were readmitted into rehab after they thought they had been down that road for the last time.
No, healing doesn’t always come the way we think that it will. But a deeper healing is always a reality for people of faith. In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul writes of a healing that we can all look forward to:
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, Burt we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-54)
We can’t always predict or control what life will hand us, but we can control how we dress ourselves. Ringing a bell is a triumphant way to celebrate the end of a long season of illness, but there is an even greater celebration ahead of us. When we choose to clothe ourselves with the imperishable nature of our Risen Lord, death is swallowed up in victory.
Bells are nice, but my hope is in the trumpet.