The grief of death paints my abode—streets and structures—pale and decrepit. Nothing of earth surpasses its power; I have seen no mere man pierce to true light beyond this affixed shadow. Firm is death’s power to dominate humankind. 

The godly are the God-ward—and faced there, they know they are not like what they see. They are not righteous in all their ways; they are not naturally near to the truth; not able to save, able to endure, able to abound in a perfection of goodness and greatness, able to act with self-generated and -sustained power, able to count stars beyond stars, able to reduce rulers to naught or view earth and all therein from on high, with a glance, and weigh it as a piece of dust, a sliver of grass—as nothing.

To my sisters in Christ 

Anna was devoted, ready to recognize and proclaim her Redeemer when He arrived. Deborah was a sought-after woman of wisdom whose leadership of Israel ushered them into a time of peace and fear of God. Huldah inspired and promoted Israel’s return to the good law of God and to favor in His eyes. Priscilla was hospitable, self-sacrificial, and well-versed in Scriptural theology such that she could help teach the ways of God to a fellow brother. Tabitha was devoted to charitable works of service—they overflowed from her heart.

When the sun turned down for the day and golden light peaked through the edges of my living room blinds throwing glistening shadows onto dim walls, my eyes assumed the same golden gleam with thoughts of recent hours. The sun grew over walls and furniture—and all the swells of the day—for the hour or so of light’s gold: the dining room table where a candle earlier sped and smoked, the distant corner of the kitchen where orange slices were held and bites were taken alongside grins and chats, and the stairs that withheld against pounded motions of every happening, whether languid and clomping or running late with clipping.

In early years of Christianity, many withstood the tests of torturous persecution and martyrdom to the glory of the One whose Name they bore: “Yet, if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name” (1 Peter. 4:16). As I have been learning of the history surrounding these men and women who loved Christ more than life on this earth and reflect upon their voices that echo through the centuries, I am led to honor Christ for His suffering, power, and worth.

The God like us—stunning. Descending from majesty. Grappling with the confines of flesh, with skin and hands. Hearing others’ voices through two ears and having blood pump through a heart roughly the same size as mine. He knew the onslaught of grief, with all looming darkness, at Gethsemane. And he endured punishment for sin after sin—the number seems endless from my perspective, though he must have known each one. He was seen, known, heard, and touched.

My fingers run over familiar lines in my home. Edges of tables. The soft back of the sofa where we have played and sat and read. I have a minute to think. The walls are colored with pieces of our lives like finger-paintings or crayon drawings. We’ll take them down soon, temporary things. We’re moving—not across the country or anything, but somewhere new. We’ll leave behind our nail holes. They’ll be filled. Someone else will start over with it all.