I have had the privilege of growing up in the church. I grew up learning about the Bible and the stories in it and have gone to weddings, and to my share of funerals. And today I attended another funeral. . . a different funeral. Today I attended a funeral where the emotions ran high and were extremely intense. As I sat in the back trying to be there for a friend of mine and watching this funeral I realized a difference between the funerals of those who are a part of the Body of Christ and a funeral for those whose families may or may not know if this loved one has moved on into Heaven.
Until today all of the funerals I had attended had a feeling of sadness, but it was mingled with hope. This hope comes from knowing that the person you said goodbye to is not really leaving for good, but only going somewhere ahead of you. They go on to Heaven and enjoy their lives with Christ and begin living in their mansion. Today's funeral was filled with a lack of hope and despair. . . and it broke my heart. It is heartbreaking when you want to explain that this doesn't have to be the end, or goodbye, but until we meet again. I don't write this to be calloused, or indifferent, I write this because it truly is heartbreaking to see lives living without the love of God or Jesus in their lives. However, I also know this one thing. That no one knows what happened with this man in his final moments . . . I believe it is very possible that before he lost consciousness or until his heart stopped beating that he cried out to God and asked forgiveness for any sins he may have committed (because EVERYONE sins . . . after all Romans tells us, there is no one righteous, no not one and yes, this even includes myself). I know this, that God is a loving God and that He longs for us to come to Him. I longed to take this family in my arms and tell them, "This is not God's plan, it doesn't have to be this way for you. You can see your loved one someday again. Please take heart and find hope in Christ. It is so easy, all He really wants is you." And yet, to do so would have intruded and I am pretty sure wouldn't have been accepted or wanted at that time. So for now, I sing quietly in my heart, Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "With Hope." "We can cry with hope, we can say goodbye with hope. Because we know that goodbye is not the end. We can grieve with hope and we believe with hope that we'll see your face again." I love that song, a song of hope even in grief.
Take heart my friends, when we live in Christ, we can grieve, live, laugh, love, and cry with Hope that God is here, He loves us and while he may not take us around the trials in life, he surely will take us through them, even if it means he is carrying us.
Have a good week and God Bless.