After death touched her family yet again, her grief turned to fury toward God. Martha was not the first person, nor the last, in history to get angry at God over a broken heart! (John 11) There is an echo of Eden in all of us. We sense life could be better, don’t we? Jesus, as He was led to Lazarus’ tomb wept. His tears were not just sorrow at the loss of his friend. He was facing the ultimate consequence of sin’s Curse: death. As He walked to that grave, John tells us that He was ‘deeply moved and troubled,’ words that indicate more than just sadness. Jesus was angry, too! Death was an offense. Paul, too, makes no peace with death as something natural. He calls death ‘the last enemy.’ “Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-26, NLT)
Christians experience death with sorrow, but not without hope. We may join Dylan Thomas in ”rage against the dying of the light” but we do not join Shakespeare in despair! The poet put these words in the mouth of Macbeth after he heard of the death of his queen. “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” We cannot read those lines without feeling the complete despair that death brings to so many who have no reason to hope.
But Christian we have GREAT reason to hope. The resurrection of Jesus Christ changes the story of humanity. “In Adam all die,” the Word says, but “in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) Our bodies will perish, part of this world, but we will live. What does this mean? It is not just for funerals. It is not just an idea to be remembered in cemeteries. The hope of the Resurrection creates a whole new way of living now. Look at this verse. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4, NIV)
Our REAL life is secreted away with Christ, held secure by God Himself. Ponder that! Life is not just getting our food for another day. It’s not just going to work this Monday morning to make more money. It’s not even about experiencing the joy of family or laughter with friends as sweet as those things can be. Our real life is a gift of God and it will only emerge from the secret when Christ’s Kingdom is fully revealed at His coming. Faith allows us to own that life and to taste it now, but only then will we know what God planned for us all along.
Does the hope of knowing eternal life – the amazing life with no darkness, no disappointment, none of the limits that sin has imposed on this world; draw you into godly hope, real joy, and out of despair? The promise of that secret life kept in Heaven for us will change us. Here is the word from the Word. May the Spirit make it a living truth for those of us who live in a dying world.
“It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. … If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have! … Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. “ (Matthew 6:21, 23, 33, The Message)
I have this hope
As an anchor for my soul,
Through ev’ry storm,
I will hold to You.
With endless love
All my fear is swept away,
I will trust in You.
There is hope in the promise of the cross.
You gave ev’rything to save the world You love.
And this hope is an anchor for my soul,
Our God will stand, unshakable!
Who was and is to come,
Your promise, sure;
You will not let go.
Your Name is higher!
Your Name is greater!
All my hope is in You.
Your word unfailing!
Your promise unshaken!
All my hope is in You.
Ben Fielding | Dean Ussher
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