There is something so sweetly comforting about the promise of the Scriptures that Christ, the Conquering King, will return for the Church to establish His new kingdom and fully and finally put an end to the Curse and its effects. Something in the hearts of humanity screams that the world as we know it is simply "broken." And that something deep in the hearts of Christ's followers begs Him to fix it. I was confronted with 2 very profound thoughts when praying for my friend and pondering his statement.
First, suffering and illness and disease are results of the Fall of Adam and Eve in the garden and the effects of sin entering into God's created order. As such, they remind us of the "temporary" format of this world, that the "way" things work here will one day be overrun by the glory of Christ and finally be "put to right" as NT Wright likes to say. Suffering and pain and illnesses force us to look to God and dream about what will be in that new world and long for its establishment.
Second, and more impacting for me today, is that those who have felt closely the disastrous and ravaging effects of sin long for Christ's coming more deeply. Those who have felt the sting of suffering and sickness and the destructive force of evil in this world are also those who desire most the coming of a new world.
So, what would God say to this young man, whose young son is hurting? He would say that He too, longs for the day when all is made right and all who are His will be able to be with Him unhindered by the Fall and its lingering. And He would tell my friend that He, too, knows what it feels like to see His beloved son ravaged and depleted by the effects of sin, tasting that sting and feeling that pain firsthand. And he would tell my friend the sufferings endured here on earth are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.
And what do I say in a moment like that? Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus....Amen.