They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it,’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say ‘Let me but have this and I’ll take the consequences’: little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death. The good man’s past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven: the bad man’s past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness. And that is why, at the end of all things, when the sun rises here and the twilight turns to blackness down there, the Blessed will say, ‘We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven,’ and the Lost, ‘We were always in Hell.’ And both will speak truly. – C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
There are times when we ask ourselves how long must sorrow last? How long must the poor and helpless suffer? How long must those who hunger yearn for bread? How long must orphans ache for a Father’s love?
We look around us and all that we can see is suffering. There is injustice everywhere. There is pain. There is grief we cannot even put into words.
We then look towards heaven and we wonder how far indeed could it be? When will that blessed day come when heaven finally comes down upon us? When those who thirst shall thirst no more? When those who are misjudged are condemned no more? When those who have fallen rise again and walk into the arms of a Father who will wipe away all of their tears?
We don’t know how long, and many times, all we can do is sigh. But we must believe that it will never be too long. God knows our pain and our cries. He will never come too late for those whom He loves.
How long, LORD?
Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
having sorrow in my heart every day?
How long shall my enemy triumph over me?
Behold, and answer me, LORD, my God.
Give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death;
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him;”
lest my adversaries rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your loving kindness.
My heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
because he has been good to me.
-Psalm 13, WEBBE