Louise Beilfuss lived 88 years. She was born six months after the Civil War. She was probably in her 40’s when she saw her first car, in her 50’s when she saw her first airplane, and in her 80’s when she saw her first TV.
I wonder if she wore masks during the Spanish Flu. Was she present when Otto Lutsch was buried here at St. Paul’s after he died in France near the end of World War I? Did she grieve with the Horn family as they buried two brothers killed months before the end of World War II?
So much happened in those 88 years! So many experiences!
Louise came to mind when I noticed that our Old Testament lesson (find 2 Chronicles 33-34 here) covers 88 years of history (the 55 year reign of Manasseh, the 2 year reign of Amon, and the 31 year reign of Josiah). I share what little I know of Louise's story to give us some perspective as we read. A lifetime of events is covered in just 3 pages in my Bible. There were horrible lows (the reign of Manasseh) and great highs (the reforms of Josiah). What ties it all together for me is that both Manasseh and Josiah humbled themselves before the LORD (2 Chronicles 33:12; 34:27).
Walking through our cemetery humbles me. Think of all that these people in our cemetery experienced! How many times did they think, “This must be the end of the world!” Many joys, but so much grief!
It puts my life in perspective. No matter what happens, the author of Hebrews tells us that we are living “in these last days” (Hebrews 1:2). All our experiences, all our highs and lows in this world, all will come to an end. What is enduring is this: Jesus is the one who can “provide purification for our sins” (Hebrews 1:3).
Over the next few days, we will be reading Hebrews in which the inspired author assures us that Jesus is all that the Old Testament believers were waiting for. He is all they needed. He is all that Louise Beilfuss needed. He is all we need. He provided purification for our sins. We are clean in his sight. He will sustain us until he comes back to give us and all those in our cemetery “a better country—a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16). Enjoy listening to “God’s Final Word: His Son” in Hebrews 1:1-2:9 (read it here).