I had just finished posting my devotional yesterday, and was studying another passage, when an early morning message took my breath away.
A mom, who loves Jesus, serves the Lord with her husband in ministry, and who had sat with me at ballgames as we watched our daughters cheer, messaged to let me know her daughter was tragically killed the night before.
Tears filled my eyes.
I fumbled for words.
And my mind tried to make sense of it all.
In just the past few weeks, I have tried to make sense of a beloved local policeman killed in the line of duty. I have cried over a dear pastor friend and his wife losing their 6 month old grand baby, and my heart broke for one of our work guys who found his young adult son, dead.
While I write, another friend is sitting by her husbands’ ICU bed wondering if he will wake up from a terrible car accident.
And, in a few hours, my sweet father-in-law will have surgery to remove cancer.
Life is hard.
Far from pretty.
I know many of you are walking through hard, hard things too. Some of you have messaged me about these gut-wrenching trials you face.
And all the while, when we manage to look up from the heartache close to us, the news is filled with rumors of wars, disease, economic peril, tyrannical dictators, and the bumblings of our ungodly administration.
The truth is, if this world is all we look to, we have every reason to be depressed.
No wonder drug use and suicide are at record levels.
But yesterday, just before I received that early morning message from that precious, grieving mom, the Lord had me reading John 10:28-29-
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
And I don’t think this is a coincidence.
Well, I know it is not.
God had me there to remind me of truth before the gut-wrenching news would come.
He was guarding my heart and mind in truth. (Phil 4:7) He’s done this again and again as I open His Word.
He has reminded me that He alone is our hope. (Rom 15:13)
He has told me over and over that this life is but a breath (James 4:14).
And I know, as much as many of us have tried to make it so, this life will never satisfy us or be our hope.
But there is REAL hope. Let’s remind each other of this!
One day, for those who have called on the Name of the Lord, every tear will be wiped away. (Rev 21:4)
Pain and sorrow and death will be no more.
As Sam asked Gandalf in the “Lord of the Rings”, “ Is everything sad going to come untrue?” (Tolkien)
The answer is a resounding “YES!”
For God’s children, “YES!”
C.S.Lewis wisely wrote “[Some mortals] say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.” (The Great Divorce)
But how can we know? How can we, who walk in the clouds of agony and sadness believe this? How can we hold on to this when our hearts are hurting?
How? We remind ourselves, in these hard moments, that death has indeed been defeated!
Because of Jesus, because of our PROMISE KEEPING GOD (I’ll be back studying Genesis tomorrow), our hearts can find comfort in the One who defeated sin and death, the One whose name is Faithful and True, (Rev 19:11) Who says, Surely I am coming soon.’ (Rev 22:20)
In the blink of an eye.
“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Cor 15:51-54)
Oh friend, God’s promises are comfort to His children.
Do you know the One whose Name is “Faithful and True” (Rev 21:5)?
Where else should we turn? Where else shall we go? He alone has the words of eternal life (John 6:68).
He alone is our hope for the heartache in this life.
May we remember this in this day and remind each other until our faith (and it surely will) becomes sight as we behold the Savior!