“What goes around, comes around”
That is an axiom that most of us have heard all of our lives.
But what is the spiritual lesson in this circular pattern?
Recently in our Torah study lessons we have been learning about the pre-existence of the soul. For most of my life I have rejected that notion, not believing that there is a biblical basis for thinking that all the souls of men and women were created in the beginning and are waiting somewhere in the presence of God to be incarnated in the flesh.
I admit that I was puzzled by the fact of the pre-incarnate Son, but I didn’t think that we regular humans could have had a pre-incarnate state of being.
BTW everything I, we, learn is temporary. We are always learning more, and revising or tossing out what we thought we knew!
- Now I believe that our soul was pre-existent to our bodies, and goes back to the Father to wait for the resurrection when our body dies. At that point the renewed and perfect body will be reunited with our post-incarnate soul.
- When a human being is conceived, God sends the soul to inhabit the body that is being “knit together” in the mother’s womb. (Another BTW: this tells us how much God values this process since he decided to present himself to the world through the womb of a woman!)
- When the soul inhabits the body it leaves the all sufficient presence of the Father. Before being sent to the body, the soul has no decisions to make. There are no choices before incarnation. Every need is supplied, and there is no sin to tempt us. God is such a constant presence it could be compared to a fish in water. It doesn’t know that it’s in water. It just is.
- The incarnated soul has entered the “world of concealment”. God is no longer a constant presence. The soul must now seek him. He or she will have choices to make. That is what free will is. God will not interfere with our choices. He wants us to freely choose him.
- God has created the soul in such a way that it longs for reunion with God, even though it does not fully remember what it was like to be with him. We call this “the God-shaped void”. Yeshua told us that when we seek him, we will find him.
- He made us so that we can communicate with him.He introduces himself to us by his Spirit.He made us so marvelously that we can hear, speak, and read.He gave us written instructions for life
- Yeshua also told us: Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:21 ESV
- While in the body, the soul will have trouble. Yeshua promised that, too.
- There will be a battle between the body and the spirit the whole time it is on the earth.
- There will be sickness, heartbreaks, struggles, pain, hardship and eventually death.
- When the body dies, the soul leaves the body and goes either to “Paradise” as Yeshua told the thief on the cross, or somewhere else, to await the resurrection.
- The soul takes nothing back with it, except what it did, and learned, during its time in the body
The questions might well be asked:
- If the soul is going to make a round trip, and it will have so much trouble while it is on this trip, why should it have to go at all?
- Since the soul had everything it needed before it ever incarnated a body, why did it have to do so?
- What did it need that it did not already have?
The answer is simple and profound: the soul needs the body at the time of the resurrection. There will be a place in the world to come for complete humans only—souls in bodies. In order to do, and be, who God intends us to be in the world to come we must arrive there in our new bodies.
Paul wrote “So it is with the resurrection of the dead. When the body is “sown,” it decays; when it is raised, it cannot decay. When sown, it is without dignity; when raised, it will be beautiful. When sown, it is weak; when raised, it will be strong. When sown, it is an ordinary human body; when raised, it will be a body controlled by the Spirit. If there is an ordinary human body, there is also a body controlled by the Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 15:42-44 CJB
So that brings us to the picture of the roundabout. I would like to tell you a story.
My mother went through some of the most horrible trials people can go through. She lost her youngest daughter, and granddaughter, in a double-murder suicide in 1983. In 1986 she lost another daughter to pneumonia. At the same time her husband, my dad, was being tortured by mental illness via demonic oppression. Through all this, my mom, struggled to support herself and learn to live with the tragedies that had befallen her. The strain on her body took its toll. She had bouts of losing her eyesight, or hearing, or both.
In 1987 I invited her to take a vacation with me. She was living by herself in California. She flew to Seattle where I picked her up for our trip around the “Cascade Loop”.
From Puget Sound into the Cascades and back runs “Washington State’s Ultimate Road Trip”. We took several days to enjoy the scenery and each other’s company. At the end of the trip I took her to a seafood restaurant in Bellingham, not too far from where my family lived.
When we finished dinner I said to her, “Mom, I have an invitation for you. The only thing you are doing by working in the bank in California is paying for your condo and your car. You could sell the condo, pay off the car and come live with us.”
She didn’t need much time thinking over the invitation, to accept it. Within a week or so I flew to California to drive her car, and her, up to our home in Ferndale, Washington.
Mom took about two years to recover her equilibrium. Then she enrolled in Bible college. She has written all this history in the book she wrote about herself. You can find it on Amazon.
It is titled, Help Me Be a Good Girl. Amen.
You may also read my daughter’s tribute to her, here: And She Laughs
Mom lived with me most of the next 28 years. For a little while she lived in Canada as dean of women where she went to Bible School, and for a little while she lived by herself in Blaine, in Scotland to care for a sick infant, and in Hong Kong to smuggle Bibles into China. After Tim and I were married she came to live with us for the last 20 years of her life. I encourage you to read her book. What a life she led!
In 2016 her soul left her body to return to the Lord. During the dying process she was in hospice for a couple of days. When my brother and his wife arrived to see her there, Tim and I left for awhile to have dinner. The closest restaurant was closed, so when Tim asked me where I would like to go instead, I said, “Let’s go to Anthony’s it has a nice view of the water.”
As soon as we were seated at Anthony’s, I realized that we were in the exact same place Mom and I had been in when I had invited her to come live with me, 28 years in the past. The restaurant had had a different name then, but we were in the same place; it seemed that we were even at the same table.
Within an hour of our dinner at the same restaurant where Mom’s journey with me began, she was gone.
A full circle had been drawn. Like leaving a roundabout and going back the way you came, Mom had completed her round trip.
. . .the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.