The world is full of news that saddens humanity and brings a tear to our eyes. Even the strongest of men and the most stoic of people clutch for the tissues when they face it. It awaits every living thing. It is death. But unlike everyone else, a Christian has a certain hope that holds them fast as the reality of death draws closer.
This week has been a hard week for the Challies family. Tim Challies wrote on his blog earlier in the week that one of his children suddenly died. Tim is a blogger who has been a huge influence on my over the years. His encouragement for bloggers and his insights are always really helpful and heartwarming.
The news of Challies’s sons death is hard, the news of anyone dying is not the news anyone wants to hear. But one of the things that struck me about Tim’s post, and one of the things that strikes me every time I speaks to someone who has just lost a loved one, they talk of hope.
In the face of death despair seems the obvious emotion. In the face of death anger begins to well up in many. In the face of death confusion, upset, sadness and grief are the daily emotions people fight with. Are they absent for the Christian? Absolutely not! Death is still death, it is horrible and hard.
However, the story doesn’t end there. Yes, death leaves brokenness and pain, but that is not the end. For the Christian there is a hope that goes beyond words. A hope that reaches into the depths of the grieving soul and pours balm on the open wound. A hope that is so anchored that no storm could move it an inch. That hope is seen in the last four words of Tim’s post about his son “Our son of home”.
For the Christian death is not the end. Death does not have the final say. Death is not the exit from life and the beginning of the unknown. For the Christian, death is the final gateway in the full presence of the Lord. Death is the end of the temporary and the entrance into the eternal. Death is path that has been walked before us because the Christian has been there in Christ.
The hope that Christians have is that we will dwell with the Lord forever. Sure, our new resurrection bodies will be cool and the new heavens and the new earth will be great. But the greatest of all, the hope that holds us firm, is that we will be with the Lord.
The pain will last a while, the place in your life where the loved one was may never be filled, but nothing can take away your hope that is secured in Christ. Therefore, as 1 Thessalonians 4:13 tells us that we do “ not grieve as others do who have no hope.”
Our hope is rooted in the living, reigning, glorious, resurrected Saviour Jesus Christ. May that hope carry you through the pain of death. Our hope lives, our hope is Christ, our inheritance is secure. May the God of all comfort being this to your mind as you feel broken and in pain. We have hope because we are in Christ.
Billy Graham sums this up perfectly and I’ll leave you with this…
“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”