Isaiah 57 commences with “The righteous man perishes” but then adds, “and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away …” and then a very meaningful statement, “for the righteous man (and woman) is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness.”

There is more encouragement in verse 15, “… thus says the One who is high and lifted up. Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite’”.

In contrast, the chapter ends, “But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked’”. It is “my God”, our God who counts us, as righteous in His eyes. As we become more aware of the true picture of our present existence – and conscious of the increasing traumas in many parts of the world, how wonderful it will be to be “taken away” – in whatever way God chooses, from the calamities that surround us. If it should be that “the righteous man perishes”, it is God who “lays it to heart”. Those individuals move into a state where there is no awareness of passing time.

Revelation 21 has a wondrous description of the ultimate time to come, when “the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God, He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away”. From now on, let us live with this divinely given vision flooding into our hearts every day.