In the past 6 months, eight people who were nearly like family or people I could call friends have left this world for their eternal destination. And in the last week local news events have described the scenarios that tell the stories of how forty more people have left this world due to tornados, a tragic car wreck and a beyond horrific shooting. That’s just the most recent local news stories. That doesn’t begin to describe the quiet scenes at home when someone kisses their loved one as they pass silently to their eternal home. Or the unbelievable scenes of massacre as a war rages on the other side of the globe.
Tragedy and grief are all around us. It’s hard to breathe. It’s hard to even think about such things and so often we look for a way to just drown out the noise of the world. We try to ignore the news. But we can’t. Or we become so angry trying to find someone to blame for all the wrong that is in this world.
So how do we overcome our anxious thoughts? How do we calm our fears or defuse our anger? How do we find hope in this broken broken world? What do I do when that tragedy comes near me? Where do I find hope? And peace?
This winter I stood in a hospital beside my friend as she learned her husband didn’t make it thru an emergency surgery. It was twelve years almost to the day since her 22 year-old son had tragically passed away. Brenda said to me…”I need you to do it again. I need you to remind me of the Truth.” It was only a few days prior I had hugged another friend who was with her husband as he breathed his last breath. I was reeling from pain for them.
It happens to all of us. We lose those we love. We too will take our last breath. For some it comes after a long process and at other times radically unexpectedly. In this current season, it seems that death – in tragic and unexpected ways is coming at us all too frequently.
So what is the Truth Brenda needed to hear from me? What was she asking me to remind her?
God is good. All the time God is good. He loves us. Heaven is real. And Jesus is our Hope. In His strength I will survive this world and because of His blood I will live where there are no more tears. No more pain. And no more suffering. Until then I can live with Hope and Joy because of His goodness.
But I am not good. I am a sinner. And on my own, Heaven is impossible. If I want relief from the burden of this world I must admit my sin. I must turn from my sin and accept the promise of His forgiveness. I must choose life. I must choose the hope Jesus offers me when I choose to live for Him.
Brenda knows this Truth, but when you are hurting you need to be reminded that you have the good promises of Jesus, because Satan wants to convince us that there is no hope.
Because Satan is real. And he is alive and active. Satan’s job is to rob us of hope. Satan’s job is to steal kill, and destroy. His job is to wear us down so we forget the good good promises of God. The enemy’s job is to inflict pain and grief so we lose sight of the goodness of God. And he is doing a great job of distracting us from the Truth of who Jesus is.
When grief strikes, our friends need our prayers. Scripture tells us that the prayers of the righteous matter. Our friends need us to love them like Jesus. To sit with them. To cry with them and to remind that Jesus will see them through. He will give them Hope again. To remind them of the Words of Scripture that are just a blur through their tears and their grief.
So for these last few months, I have prayed. I have cried for them when I am not even with them. I have physically hurt for my friends who have lost family, some as recent as this past week. But I (and they) don’t grieve without hope. Because of Jesus. And because they know that the choices their loved ones made to repent and accept Jesus, they will see them again someday. They have eternal hope because their destination is Heaven too.
There they will be reunited in the presence of Jesus. Over and over…I have tried to remind my hurting friends of the promise, power and hope found in choosing Jesus. Yes, they grieve. And, yes, they hurt, but they do it with Hope. They know the promises of God and His assurance that He loves them. They know they must simply trust Him.
But what about the forty people who left this world in the last week? When they left, where did they go? What hope do their families have? Were they immediately welcomed to Heaven? Or were they forever destined to Hell? Because it is one or the other. Because our choice here, determines our destination then. Our choice determines whether our loved ones grieve with or without hope.
Jesus says, “let the children come to me.” Tonight all those children are safe in His arms.
But possibly in those 40 are some who rejected Jesus. Maybe for some, their believing friends failed to tell them about Jesus.
And others may have said: “I’ll wait till later.” But later never came. And it’s too late. They never made the choice for Jesus and their last breath took them to Hell not Heaven.
Those might seem like harsh words, but for almost as long as I can remember my heart has been to share Jesus. It’s the foundation on which Milt and I stand on this farm and in our home. It is the why behind everything we do. Our heart is to introduce others to Jesus, His promises, His loving kindness and the true joy that comes from choosing Him.
Jesus is the most important reality in my life and I would be selfish not to share this hope with you. In this world reeling with tragedy, sharing Jesus is the most loving thing I can do. Jesus is what our world needs.
And truthfully? We share this because we want you to be in Heaven with us! We want you to not despair in this life but we really want you to know for certain that you can have the promise of Heaven and the abundant life of Hope here on earth.
If you aren’t sure what all that means. If you think your situation is impossible and you can never find hope or be forgiven, or you aren’t completely sure that Heaven is your eternal destination, would you reach out? Or maybe you think praying isn’t enough. Would you let us tell you about Jesus? Would you let us pray with you to restore your faith or find faith for the first time? Is your grief more than you can bear? Will you let us point you to Jesus? Please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to chat with you and/or pray for you!
If you love Jesus and are just broken for our hurting world…will you earnestly seek Jesus and pray for the hurting and the lost? Will you find a lost person and show them the Gospel? Don’t just tell them. Live it for them to see. Our lost friends need to find Jesus before it’s too late. They need the hope we have found in Jesus alone. And if we can pray with you or for you, would you reach out?
We must be about our Father’s business. Jesus is the only hope for this world. But He is more than enough.
Let me tell you what Jesus has done for me so you can choose Him too.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV
Janie and Milt Corley