Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
Here’s to those who battle sickness; to those who find themselves losing faith in the midst of financial or domestic battlegrounds. You out there who’s hands droop in discouragement and whose knees weaken under the weight of the heavy load Hashem seems to have unmercifully allowed to be placed upon your weak shoulders (Hebrews 12:12): has this world gotten you down?
A lady I recently met and who had a full life of serving the cause of the people of God recently realized that she is approaching the last years of her life. After being a very active social creature, she is now handicapped and stuck in the small room of an adult care facility. Feeling sick, lonely, and abandoned even by friends, she confessed to me that two days before she contemplated suicide. She then asked me, “Is it worth it? Is it worth it to wait it out, or should I just end it now?” Another lady friend of mine faced with a cancer resurgence cried in my arms the other day, “Why? Why doesn’t Hashem heal me?” On the other side, my wife presently cares for her sick ninety-nine year-old Swedish aunt who does not believe in God or in any sort of thing such as the after-life. As she realizes that she may not reach the meaningful landmark of one hundred years old, she faces her fate with uncanny pragmatism barely falling short of comforting the doctors who care for her. What is the difference? Why does this lady who does not even believe in God seem to have more peace in the face of sickness and probable death than the ones who do?
Hope; hope is the difference. Those who believe have learned to have hope, but as wise King Solomon said, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick …" (Prov. 13:12). Deferred hope may make the hear sick, but is a cynical life without the life and light of hope better? I don’t think so.
The very design of the tabernacle teaches us about the present and tangible hope that Hashem fulfills all his promises; that if he doesn't do it now in the Olam Hazeh זהה עולם (this age) he will do it in the Olam Habah הבא עולם (the Age to Come, the Messianic Age). The great divine plan for the destiny of the world is imbedded in the geography of the Tabernacle. Through it the Holy Spirit teaches us that as long as the protos (the first part of the tabernacle which represents this present age) pursues its unfinished course, the Deuteros (the second part which represents the World to Come where the full atonement of the Master our heavenly High Priest rules, the place where promises are all fulfilled) cannot come (Heb. 9:8-9). Our patriarchs understood that as they all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar (Heb. 11:13).
As we look into this beautiful shadow picture in the design of the Tabernacle, may we look for the World to Come with the hope and assurance from he who fulfills all hopes, and into the second part of the King Solomon’s proverb, “… but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life" (Prov. 13:12).