John Martin - Great day of His wrath
This week, I sat in the Main Hall of the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast. It is a beautiful building, without a doubt, designed by Sir Richard Allison, the Scottish architect responsible for the Science and Geological Museums in London.
The exterior is imposing and stately, boasting huge Corinthian columns and once inside, you are met with wall to wall Travertine marble and exquisite etchings. The eye is drawn up 30 feet, to an impressive, coffered ceiling. All around, counsel and client consult, many in court dress. It is like stepping into another world and can be both fascinating and daunting. I didn't think I cared much for pomp and ceremony, but was strangely comforted to see that something of the traditional still remains, in this post-modern mess. A liberal would undoubtedly argue the authenticity of such, against the context of today's society.
I sat there, for the most part, alone. At one point, several police officers and a riot squad entered the hall followed by a large group of people which congregated outside the door leading to the court of appeal. It struck me that someone had done something terribly wrong, yet my daughter whom I was there to represent, was innocent and I was there on my own. Her only crime, in the eyes of some, was to be born with a disability, which was further exacerbated by the actions of those in a position of trust. I was there to ensure that my local Health Authority be held accountable and provide her with much needed care, equipment and therapy, something that they have failed to do so for twelve long and often frustrating, years.
My lawyer explained that there were two men scheduled for hearing that morning and that they had brutally murdered a police officer five years previously. The group of supporters were members of the dissident republican IRA and known to authorities. Difficult enough being in such a place through no fault of my own I thought, yet to deliberately mess your life up through bitterness and hate, was difficult to take in. When they did arrive, they did so smirking and looked like they hadn't a care in the world.
Eventually we entered the court and it was my turn to faced the judge. He was an elderly gentleman and was kind and compassionate. I had nothing to fear, but at that moment, I desperately wished I had someone else with me. It felt lonely. But that is life, and I have come to accept it. I sat for many hours, days, weeks, months, listening to the bleeps of monitors and air being forced into my daughter's tiny lungs, alone. My husband, who is a devoted dad to this little one, would sit half a week and then we'd change over, briefly exchanging car keys, as we had three other very young children at home to care for and we were on our own. In a six month period, nobody from the fellowship we attended visited or even phoned. One minister from a church website prayer page I had posted to, visited but we passed each other in the corridor, each not knowing what the other looked like, so never met. Some relatives came by once for a look, but hospital essentially was a lonely place.
Now I found myself sitting in a court room by myself as my son had a medical review that morning and my husband couldn't be with me. It struck me then, that nothing much had changed over the years in terms of family support. Today however, I am thankful, for praying friends and people in the church I attend and one other, who are holding us up before the Throne of Grace and also for a lovely couple who helped us with childcare during this time. Eternity alone will reveal their faithfulness.
The judge was kind and gracious throughout but as I smiled and thanked him, I couldn't help but think that I would not have liked to have met him under different circumstances.
Genesis 18:25 has come before me for several years, giving me a quiet confidence regarding this matter. 'Shall not the judge of all the earth, do right?' Today I thank God that my daughter will finally have access to equipment and therapy that she so desperately needs. However, today I am reminded that there is a final judgement and it is coming soon. I had waited in this place several days previous, expecting to be called to the bench. Those advising me, also thought that the time was at hand. It would have been easy to become cynical or complacent, but the appointment finally did take place and thankfully, we were ready.
Each of us will have to stand and face the Judge and Creator of the Universe, alone. On that day, the court room will be devoid of supporters, family members and friends as we individually give an account to God. It is a sobering thought.
There will be no court of appeal and the sentence, unlike the paltry, penalties imposed for the most heinous of crimes here in the UK, is final and eternal.
It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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