Few things solemnize the finality of death like making funeral arrangements and choosing a coffin, or arranging the details of a memorial service. They are among the grueling but necessary duties of the bereaved. Death comes to all; Good Friday reminds us of that grim reality.
Yet, what gives a widow courage as she stands beside a fresh grave?
What is the ultimate hope of the disabled, the amputee, the abused, the burn victim?
How can the parents of children who have brain damage or physical handicaps keep from living their entire lives totally and completely depressed?
Why would anyone who is blind or deaf or paralyzed be encouraged when he or she thinks of the life beyond?
How can we see past the martyrdom of some helpless hostage or devoted missionary?
Where do the thoughts of a young couple go when they finally recover from the grief of losing their long-awaited baby only weeks away from a full-term birth?
When a family receives the tragic news that a little daughter was found dead or their dad was killed in a plane crash or a son overdosed on drugs, what single truth becomes their whole focus?
What is the final answer to pain, mourning, senility, insanity, terminal diseases, sudden calamities, and fatal accidents?
The answer to each of these questions is the same: the hope of bodily resurrection.
We draw strength from this single truth almost every day of our lives—more than we realize. It becomes the mental glue that holds our otherwise shattered thoughts together. Impossible though it may be for us to understand the details of how God is going to pull it off, we hang our hopes on fragile, threadlike thoughts that say, “Someday, He will make it right” and “Thank God, all this will change” and “When we’re with Him, we shall be like Him.”
More than a few times a year I look into red, swollen eyes and remind the despairing and the grieving that “there’s a land that is fairer than day”1 when, as John promised in the Revelation:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. (Revelation 21:4 NLT)
Because the grave is not the end for anyone who believes.
Hooray for such wondrous hope!
- Sanford F. Bennett and Joseph P. Webster, “Sweet By and By.”
Copyright © 2007 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.