By Sarah Heynemann, reprinted from the Salt & Light Australia Daily Devotional.
Photo by Sarah Heynemann, taken in Chora Church, Istanbul.
“Whom do you position on the throne of Heaven?”
Some things in life are truly unpredictable and beyond our control.
As a doctor I have a responsibility to inform my patients regarding the desired benefits of a proposed treatment strategy, as well as all the potential adverse events. In so doing, to the best of my ability, I’m seeking to facilitate informed decision-making and consent on their part.
The nuance in this can be difficult however – getting the balance right between highlighting the benefit or rationale of a treatment and being candid about potential risks. You don’t want to scare a patient away from a reasonable and effective treatment but you also don’t want to be misleading about potentially serious side effects. For example, in discussing chemotherapy following resection of an early stage cancer I am describing a strategy akin to increasing the likelihood of “winning” (a.k.a. long term remission or cure) a sports game – the game may already be won by surgery alone but likewise, having an extra player (i.e. chemotherapy) may be the needed difference to get across the line. On the other hand, perhaps this particular patient might be the one in a tiny percentage who has a life-threatening complication from treatment – I may have discussed this with the patient when I consented them initially, but numbers are often intangible, insignificant and not real (relevant for someone else!) – except when the someone else is sitting in front of you.
What do you do when something devastating, idiosyncratic and ultimately with uncorrectable consequences happens in your workplace?
The canon of scripture tells us the story of how God is in control – God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, forever and ever, the great Alpha and Omega. Looking around at the world – at suffering, at children dying of cancer, at people actively blaspheming against God; one can wonder – has something gone terribly wrong with the world here?
In the book of Revelation we see an explanation of something of the sub-text beneath all we see happening around us on earth. It may look like things are out of control, but actually…actually…God is in control with a capital “C”! The marriage supper of the Lamb is prepared and per the great song ‘O Praise the Name’ – “the angels roar for Christ the King!”
And so remains for us as readers of Revelation the rhetorical question of this book as I heard recently from Tim Foster, lecturer at Ridley College, Melbourne: Whom do you position on the throne of Heaven?
As I leave you to ponder this question (as I am aswell) I want to leave you with this encouraging example of the pervasive hope of the Gospel. The picture above depicts the story of the woman described in Luke 8:43-48 with an intractable bleeding condition. Likely ostracized for her ritual uncleanness, this woman nonetheless sought Jesus out and He noticed. Today this mosaic hangs in a building previously a church now a mosque, in a country in which 98% of the population are Muslim and Christians a small minority. When the church was converted to a mosque these mosaics were wallpapered over. Ironically, this has actually served to preserve them several centuries later.
Friends, let’s be encouraged to rest upon Jesus – for “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
Then I heard what seemed like the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of might peals of thunder, crying out,
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exalt and give Him the glory,
For the marriage of the Lamb has come,
And His Bride has made herself ready;
It was granted to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”
For the linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”