“May his/her soul rest in peace!”
An oft quoted exclamation by well-wishers to the bereaved when someone passes away. But when will the soul rest in peace? Do all souls rest in peace? Only when the soul goes back to where it came from, i.e. the Creator, our Almighty. But how does the soul get there? Only by fulfilling the conditions that God has laid down for us in His Word. He has offered us the free gift of salvation. He gave Himself for us. He did not spare His only Son when He sent Him to earth in flesh so that we could attain freedom from eternal punishment. John 3:16 says,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The world is engrossed in just “eating, drinking and being merry” without a single thought to what happens to the soul in the hereafter. In Mark 8:36 we read
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
The health of the soul is very much neglected. The transient pleasures of the world are more alluring. They refuse to accept the privilege of being a true child of God, the gift of eternal life, the living water that Jesus gives, the everlasting satisfaction that can quench the thirsty soul. Man is busy and spends unnecessary time, money, effort in making the outer body beautiful and presentable but hardly spares a thought to make the soul beautiful. It can be made so by putting on Christ, having His mind, displaying the fruits of the Spirit, being transformed by renewing our attitude, not conforming to the world. Instead of using the phrase-may his soul rest in peace-as a cliché, let us think deeply whether it is in reality, a truth. What if the soul is doomed to the eternal fire? Will there be an iota of peace?
If in this earthly life our soul finds peace with our Lord and Maker in a strong and intimate relationship, even in the midst of adversities and turmoil, then surely the soul will find peace when it leaves this earthly abode and rests with the Shepherd and Overseer of souls.
The trees are bare, the leaves are dry, the soil is hot and flaming
A picture of desolation and dryness
No hope in the far-reaching, never-ending stretch of lifeless desert sand
Until one gets a glimpse of an oasis in the far-sighted horizon
But alas! It’s only a mirage
That gave false elevated feelings
Then… a cry of relief when one spots a clump of trees and some water… in an oasis
A sign of life in a lifeless desert
One feels refreshed and invigorated and strengthened to move on
To reach the next destination
Similar is the desert of my life.
Unquenched thirst for something lacking
Emptiness and void looming large
The fears and anxieties of treading into the unknown,
The turmoil of being separated from loved ones by distance or distress
But then… a song arises from this desert
When I feel the hand of Jesus clasping mine and proving to walk with me throughout
Guiding me in all my ways
Opening up closed doors
Filling me with the special peace that only He can give
Comforting me with the enlightening manna and water of life
Lifting me from a state of gloom and helping me maintain a smile in my heart
Putting a song on my lips
To let praise come forth incessantly
In place of the desert, there is an oasis of life
The flowers bloom in place of the dry twigs and shrubs
Now… I can sing in the desert!
Each of us have voids in our life that has to be filled with the right things or people. For example, we have a space in our heart for a mother and that space can only be filled by our mother. We can’t replace that void with anything or anybody else.
From the time we are born, we have spaces in our heart which are “God-shaped” and that can only be filled by God. In today’s world, what we often come across is people who try to fill that space with things of this world hoping to find peace or happiness. This is where things go so wrong. Nothing and nobody else can replace God. No amount of money or fame can bring the joy and peace which only God can give in your life.
Most of us are familiar or have solved a jigsaw puzzle. The basic concept of a jigsaw puzzle is that an entire picture is divided into different pieces and bringing the different pieces together in the right manner helps to form the entire picture. Each empty space has to be filled with the right piece or else the picture will not make any sense. We can try to fit together mismatching pieces and try to align it correctly but it still wouldn’t be right. The picture formed in this way will have no meaning in the end. In the same way, we can try to fill our lives with things of this world but it will only make sense when you give your life to Jesus and fill your God-shaped voids with Him.
If you have been trying to make sense of your life by going to places which the world advised, you are not going to find it anywhere. You can run from pillar to post to find “inner peace”, etc. as the world calls it. But a child of God knows where he needs to go in order to find the meaning of his life, in order to find peace and that is at Jesus’ feet.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.