When angels fold their wings

th-1I apologize for waxing philosophical today, but I haven’t been able to get yesterday’s Catch about the singing nurse out of my mind, especially that lady who commented on how 24 hours of his singing might make her well, but then she would have to leave the hospital and not hear him anymore. She would rather stay in the hospital and hear him sing than to be well and not be able to be comforted anymore by his voice.

I wrote the rest of the Catch about how God meeting us in our pain makes the pain worthwhile as in: the treatment is worth the disease. But it may be bigger than that. This woman’s comment just may be big enough to at least give some sense to the whole matter of our human existence.

Consider the age-old question: Why did God create the world and let sin and suffering into it? Could it be that He could say something in our comfort and redemption that He couldn’t say any other way?

Think of  the host of angelic voices that pierced the darkness of night to announce the birth of a suffering savior. How can you appreciate light if you have never known the fear of darkness? How can you appreciate love if you have never known the absence of it? How can you know what it is to be found if you have never been lost? How can you know mercy if you have never needed it?

I could fill up a few Catches with statements such as these, but nothing says it better than the nineteenth century hymn lyrics of Johnson Oatman, Jr. who wrote:

There is singing up in Heaven such as we have never known,
Where the angels sing the praises of the Lamb upon the throne,
Their sweet harps are ever tuneful, and their voices always clear,
O that we might be more like them while we serve the Master here!

But I hear another anthem, blending voices clear and strong,
“Unto Him Who hath redeemed us and hath bought us,” is the song;
We have come through tribulation to this land so fair and bright,
In the fountain freely flowing He hath made our garments white.

Holy, holy, is what the angels sing,
And I expect to help them make the courts of heaven ring;
But when I sing redemption’s story, they will fold their wings,
For angels never felt the joys that our salvation brings.

“Singing nurse” is only the half of it. Heaven is going to be full of singing sinners, and I plan to be belting out my part.

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8 Responses to When angels fold their wings

  1. Carole in Midland says:

    As happens so often with your writings, John, I had use of it almost immediately (see? God’s Word really doesn’t go out and come back void!). First, while reading the Catch, I remembered that wonderful Gaither song, “Because He Lives I Can Face Tomorrow… and life is worth the living just because He lives!” and I hummed it/sang (croaked) it all morning. Made my empty bank account, sticky gas pedal, and dread of my next electric bill (8 degree weather? In the SOUTH?? REALLY??) seem inconsequential. Then I got a note from a friend who was also in a puddle (Southern for feeling blue) and shared your message and the Gaither song with HER. You realize this makes YOU and me “singing nurses,” right? So maybe its in our times of trials and tribulations (whether teeny or gigantic) when we wish we had a singing nurse, we can BE a singing nurse to someone else – then both the “nurse” and the “patient” are renewed and reminded that we CAN face the future – just because He lives.

    • jwfisch says:

      Beautiful! Thank you. I was earlier trying to find the practical application of this Catch knowing Marti would be the one to ask: “So what do we do about this? How will this effect my life now?” I think you answered that question.

  2. Peter Leenheer says:

    John, I will be standing beside you as you belt it out. I will be belting it out as well. I can’t sing so I belt. It will be a blast to do that together. It will be cool to find out who all the catch members are and have an eternity to make their acquaintance. The suffering is worth it.

  3. Susan says:

    This brought me to tears. We’ve been discussing in a Visioning group with our young pastor about what a nonbeliever, non church-goer might want/need in a church and this pretty much nails it on the head. We all need comfort because we’re all suffering, we all need someone to be the “singing nurse.” So now, what am I going to do about it…

  4. Elizabeth Black says:

    I especially love the fourth paragraph that you wrote today. Until we have experienced those ones you mentioned, we truly cannot appreciate them. Thanks for reminding us of that fact. Besides the fact that my husband recently died and I feel that terrific lost of his love, I was here one night alone when our power went out for 24 hrs. during the recent ice storm. I had no one to talk to, no TV, no computer, couldn’t cook a hot meal, and it got dark at 5 p.m. The first year in 28 yrs. here I had not bought wood because I was not suppose to be lifting it, so my little poodle and I sat in the dark covered with coats and blankets and still freezing when the temp. got to 28 inside. Believe me, electricity took on a new meaning.

  5. Pastor Ken Cunniff says:

    John, we just buried our son, Trooper David Cunniff on 12/20. We have been comforting ourselves with scripture and song. This catch is yet another comfort. He played guitar in his church, and I think Jesus is probably teaching him some NEW heavenly songs, with some new chords. And, he’s belting them out today.

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