Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Find Hope in the Midst of Sorrow

On the day this article publishes, I’ll be attending a funeral for a friend of mine, the mother of one of my spiritual sisters. It’s going to be kind of a sad day but not nearly as sad as the last few weeks have been as she lay in a hospital bed, sometimes incoherent, always in pain, her body weakening by the day.

But it’s also going to be kind of a happy day, as well. We’ll talk about that more later, though.

My friend’s mom passed away a few days ago. That night, I took dinner to my friend and her extended family who had gathered at her dad’s house. As we sat – looking through old pictures and telling stories of favorite memories – my friend said something that resonated in my ears.

“I don’t know how people who have no hope do this.”

I said almost the exact same words to my dad the day before we buried my mom.

We’ve all lost loved ones. Many of us have even done so prematurely. Sometimes death comes at the end of many years after a life fully lived. Sometimes the loss comes with the warning of disease and suffering; other times shock overwhelms us as accidents or tragic events cause the loss.

Early or late in life, with warning or sudden shock; such are only two examples of differences that define the last moments of our loved ones.

One more difference defines the passing of our loved ones. One more difference separates anguish from bittersweet sorrow. One more difference defines the moment as full or devoid of hope.

Jesus is that difference.

The triune God is the God of Hope because Jesus' death and resurrection made hope possible. He is the God of Hope because the Holy Spirit empowers us to overflow with hope. Hope - made possible by Jesus, given by God, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

This was the difference in my mom’s death and the death of my friend’s mom. This was the difference for a couple who taught me about Him when I was a teenager. This was the difference for a man who lived a testimony of Him every day of his life. The rejection of the God of Hope has also made a difference for some I know who’ve passed on without Him.

There’s something you need to know about hope that comes from Christ. We use the word hope for an event or item that we wish or desire might happen. We hope to go on vacation this summer. Or, we hope doctors find a cure for heart disease. These things may or may not happen; we just hope they do. Scripture removes the uncertainty of hope, however.

Jesus never taught on hope because for Him the reality of the future is as certain as the reality of this present moment. He doesn’t wish He could return for us someday. He doesn’t aspire to offer us the same resurrection from the dead that He Himself experienced. He doesn’t dream of a kingdom on earth where He reigns in peace and righteousness. He is the reality and the surety of each of those coming events. His life and death guarantee their future fulfillment. So, in a relationship with Christ, hope is absolute and certain. It isn’t a wish, aspiration, or fanciful daydream.

My friend has the certainty of that hope for her mom just as I did years ago. The reason I spend hours writing my books and articles is so you also can know the certainty of the hope of a relationship with Jesus. Click here to read more about a relationship with Him. Use the comment section below or contact me on Facebook or Twitter if you’d like to talk even more.

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