In my father’s house there are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. -- We talked a bit this weekend about perspective, about how easy it is for us living in this world sometimes to forget that there exists a much bigger picture which ought to comfort us in those moments when we are called to bear crosses or in those times when we are allowed by God to deal with some of the consequences of our sins. It is our faith in Christ and our understanding that He keeps every promise which allows us sometimes to face the trials of our lives. I shared a story this weekend about "Ira." Ira, one of the youths with whom I quest on World of Warcraft, lacks that eternal perspective. He is so caught up in the events of this world that he felt forced to run away from home, even run away from his parents, for fear of what his friends' drug dealers might do to him. When Ira asked me if I was ashamed of him for running, I told him I was not. I understood his fear was real. Fred (his best friend) had been murdered. A couple other youths had been murdered or attacked by these dealers. Certainly he had lived a life to this point which might make him seem like the “boy who cried wolf” were he to go to the cops. And, despite what he had put his parents through over the years, I also understood he was looking for boundaries from them. And no doubt he believe the threat that they might be killed were they to stick up for him.
But I also shared that my response now would have to be different, were I to be put in the same shoes. Ira was floored. “Are you not afraid to die?” And so I was able to share the thrust of the Gospel with a teenager caught in a cycle from which he can find no escape. “The “real world” does not work that way.” “Nothing and nobody can stop these guys.” I reminded Ira that he was dearly loved by our Lord and Savior. I reminded Ira that Jesus knew before He ever came down from heaven all the “mistakes” that Ira would make. And I reminded Ira that our Lord understood our lack of or wrong perspective. He came that we might be reconciled to God, and He was raised from the dead that we might know He did come and do what the Father had asked of Him. And while He was here, He taught us that we far too often lack the “real perspective,” the eternal perspective of our Father in heaven.
Our reading from John this week reminded us of the perspective we should have when the world is closing in on us, when we seem trapped by the forces and events which shape this world. He has gone to prepare a place for each of His disciples. And when He comes again, all of His followers will be taken to where He is. Nothing, not even death, can thwart His efforts. In the midst of life trials and tribulations, it sometimes helps if we try to take a step back and think of God’s perspective. “Does ___ really matter? Does it, in the long run, really matter?” While the Bible never makes light of human suffering, it does remind of the simple fact that, if we have no reason to fear death, we have no reason to fear anything. And because of that perspective, we can embrace life’s challenges and all our crosses with a joy, a joy that knows one day this will all end; a joy that we are living in an Easter Monday; a joy that knows one day, we will be called home to eternal life with our heavenly Father who loves each and every one of us.