“Thus says the Lord: Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create…” (Isaiah 65:17)
I have three sisters and between them, I have 15 nieces and nephews, ranging from five months old to 20 years old. So, I have seen a fair amount of pregnancies and the challenges and sufferings that can ensue – from nausea, to dehydration, to bed rest. But that pain and suffering is soon forgotten in the birth of a beautiful new child, and each sister would gladly say it is worth all the pain (at least most days!).
Isaiah prophesies that in the new heavens and the new earth, that the things of the past shall not be remembered. The beauty and joy of the “new birth” will make us forget all the toil and pain of this world. I was reading recently about the martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity, two young women who were martyred in Carthage and whose names are recited in the first Eucharistic prayer. Fed to wild animals and finally dispatched by the sword of a gladiator, they both knew suffering. But Isaiah is foretelling that they won’t even remember that because heaven is so good!
I know you have a certain amount of suffering in your life. Some of your suffering is hidden, perhaps only a spouse or some close friends know; but, if we take up our cross for Jesus and suffer with Him and for Him, we can be sure that one day that pain will be forgotten. That means that the joy of heaven must be beyond our expectations. It is going to be so good that the trials of this present time will be forgotten.
A mother gathered with her children is at peace. She does not think about the pains of pregnancy and childbirth. She rejoices at the children by her side. As we come down the homestretch of Lent, may we continue to be purified for that new birth to life eternal on high.
Fr. Tim McKeown is in his 18th year serving as a priest for the Diocese of Savannah. He serves the communities of Brunswick, Darien and Jekyll Island in Georgia. When he is not fishing for men, he can be found fishing for fish.